Nijeer Parks.
Robert Williams.
Michael Oliver.

These are the names of a few black men in America who have been wrongfully arrested due to the police use of facial recognition software that mistakenly identified these people as suspects in crime.

Now, add to that list Randall Reid, a black 28 year old Georgia man who was wrongly accused and identified as the perpetrator of a crime in Louisiana, where Reid says he has never been.  More names are sure to be added to the list as this software is used without oversight.

As detailed in this article, the growing use of facial recognition software by police agencies is cause for serious concern amongst lawyers, civil libertarians, lawmakers and privacy advocates.  The technology is becoming widespread, and there are very few checks.  The city of San Francisco, in 2019, banned the use of such technology, but other cities and states are moving forward with the continued use of such tech.  Virginia is one such example.  That state passed a law allowing police to use facial recognition software in criminal investigations in 2022.

Private entities are getting into the mix as well.  Recently, Madison Square Garden made news when it used facial recognition software to ban a private citizen attending an event.  The banned person was a personal injury lawyer at a firm that was involved in litigation with the Dolan family, owners of MSG.  She wasn’t herself involved in the lawsuit, but MSG banned her anyway.

This technology promises to challenge the notions of privacy and anonymity while in public spaces in the 21st century.  The intersection of criminal law, privacy, and technology is a place where criminal defense lawyers must be at the forefront of the battle to safeguard the rights of the people.


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