Police Use of Facial ID Video Systems in Detroit and Elsewhere Worries U.S. House Members

May 24, 2019, 2:01 PM

Members of the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform raise concerns about the use of facial recognition by law enforcers, including the Detroit Police Department.

(Photo: DepositPhotos)


Michigan Radio sumarizes a hearing that follows a recent Georgetown Law Center report on how Detroit, Chicago, New York and Orlando use street video surveillance, such as from Project Green Light here, to investigate crimes. Reporter-producer Dustin Dwyer chronicles remarks by committee member Rashida Tlaib, a first-term Democrat from Southwest Detroit:

"The city of Detroit created one of the nation's most pervasive and sophisticated surveillance networks with real-time facial recognition technology," Tlaib said during the hearing.

She said the residents of her district already face economic problems and structural racism. On top of it, she said, policing has become more "militarized and flawed."

"Now we have for-profit companies pushing so-called technology that has never been tested in communities of color, let alone been studied enough to conclude that it makes our communities safer."

Worries also were voiced by Rep. Justin Amash, a Republican from the Grand Rapids area, and committee chair Elijah Cummings, D-Md., who sees a need for legislation regulating how police can use video facial recognition capabilities.

Amash is troubled by privacy invasions from "gathering or discovering information on innocent people who are not the subject of an investigation." Dwyer posts: 

One question this raises is whether such a [street video camera] scan would violate a person's rights under the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, which protect people in America from unreasonable searches.

Related coverage:

'I Take Great Umbrage:' Detroit Police Chief Calls Out 'Slanderous Accusations of Epic Proportions' by Privacy Center, May 18

Read more:  Michigan Radio

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