MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

BlueLeaks Shows Worry About Masks and Facial Recognition

Posted by M. C. on July 21, 2020

There is one disease the masks protect US against…government.

https://theintercept.com/2020/07/16/face-masks-facial-recognition-dhs-blueleaks/

While doctors and politicians still struggle to convince Americans to take the barest of precautions against Covid-19 by wearing a mask, the Department of Homeland Security has an opposite concern, according to an “intelligence note” found among the BlueLeaks trove of law enforcement documents: Masks are breaking police facial recognition.

The rapid global spread and persistent threat of the coronavirus has presented an obvious roadblock to facial recognition’s similar global expansion. Suddenly everyone is covering their faces. Even in ideal conditions, facial recognition technologies often struggle with accuracy and have a particularly dismal track record when it comes to identifying faces that aren’t white or male. Some municipalities, startled by the civil liberties implications of inaccurate and opaque software in the hands of unaccountable and overly aggressive police, have begun banning facial recognition software outright. But the global pandemic may have inadvertently provided a privacy fix of its own — or for police, a brand new crisis.

A Homeland Security intelligence note dated May 22 expresses this law enforcement anxiety, as public health wisdom clashes with the prerogatives of local and federal police who increasingly rely on artificial intelligence tools. The bulletin, drafted by the DHS Intelligence Enterprise Counterterrorism Mission Center in conjunction with a variety of other agencies, including Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, “examines the potential impacts that widespread use of protective masks could have on security operations that incorporate face recognition systems — such as video cameras, image processing hardware and software, and image recognition algorithms — to monitor public spaces during the ongoing Covid-19 public health emergency and in the months after the pandemic subsides.”…

Be seeing you

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