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Flawed facial recognition technology may harm your defense

On Behalf of | Jul 21, 2022 | Criminal Defense

Many people are skeptical about facial recognition technology used by police in Texas and around the country to identify suspects in criminal cases. Black Americans, in particular, are more likely than others to remain skeptical about the technology and fear that its use will result in adverse outcomes, according to a 2021 Pew Research study.

Facial recognition results in false matches

Amazon’s facial recognition tool is helpful in some circumstances, but tests by the American Civil Liberties Union have shown that up to 40% of men of color are misidentified through the tool. The company has pushed back, saying that the wrong settings were used on the device during the tests. Facial recognition technology works for white males, but the results were much less accurate when the subjects were women or people of color. While white males may be able to point to facial recognition technology for help in their criminal defense, it may not exonerate other groups and may even hinder their chances of acquittal.

White and Hispanic Americans are much more likely than Black Americans to believe facial recognition technology will make policing fairer. Only 25% of Black Americans think the technology is beneficial, yet as a whole, less than half of Americans think the technology will help. Most Americans also overwhelmingly believe that facial recognition technology should not be the only factor used in arresting someone for a crime.

The stakes become even higher for violent crimes

Misidentification in violent crime trials can have far-reaching consequences. While aggressive representation is always necessary in such cases, defendants may have an added layer of defense if facial recognition technology was used to jail a suspect. Pointing out the flaws of the technology may help prove your innocence.

The technology used in facial recognition databases is still evolving. Until such time that identification becomes more accurate, its use in a criminal prosecution should be questioned. If you have been arrested due to facial recognition technology, working with a team that understands its flaws could help protect you from a conviction for a serious crime you may not have committed.