Detroit police revise facial-recognition technology policy in face of criticism

August 01, 2019, 7:44 AM

The Detroit Police Department is revising its policy on the use of facial-recognition technology in the face of public criticism.

DPD Chief James Craig shows off facial-recognition technology. (Photo: Violet Ikonomova)

The biggest change is the removal of a rule that the program can be used in real time only if there's a credible terror threat.

The Detroit News reports:

"We have never used this for live-streaming, but we originally had it put in the policy that we would use it that way in case of a credible threat of a terrorist attack," (Police chief James) Craig said. "But we removed that provision; now we'll only use it with still images.

"If there is a credible terror threat, the feds would lead the investigation anyway, so now it'll be up to them how they want to identify suspects," Craig said.

Facial-recognition technology has been the focus of intense public criticism. Studies have found that it can be inaccurate, particularly when analyzing the faces of people of color. A police commission meeting last month dissolved into chaos when commissioner Willie Burton was arrested for disorderly conduct after aggressively questioning the board chairwoman about the technology. 

The new policy also lays out a disciplinary policy for officers who abuse the system. 

Read more:  The Detroit News

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