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DataWorks face biometrics police contract extension on hold as Detroit residents protest

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Earlier this week, Detroit residents started a caravan of 40 vehicles to protest against Project Green Light, which sees biometric facial recognition deployed to surveillance cameras around the city, writes Detroit Free Press. Back in 2017, Detroit police added facial recognition software to the department’s Project Green Light video crime monitoring program launched the year before.

The caravan drove around the homes of three Detroit City Council members, asking to defund the project. The movement was triggered by a potential $219,000 contract extension with facial recognition provider DataWorks.

Described as a proposal “to Provide an Extension of Time and an Increase of Funds for Facial Recognition Software and Mobile Fingerprint Readers Utilized in the Real Time Crime Center and Extend Current Software Licenses,” the item was ultimately removed from the council’s agenda. The office of the City Clerk was contacted for comment, but there was no answer. There was also no comment from Councilman Scott Benson, chairman of the Public Health and Safety Committee.

Project Green Light launched in 2016 with surveillance cameras at neighborhood gas stations to help deter and solve crimes and has since expanded to include other late-night businesses, parks, schools, health clinics, hotels, apartments, and churches.

Mayor Mike Duggan said he does not plan on withdrawing support for the program. According to city officials, crime at Green Light businesses has dropped by 23 percent, while one of the program’s early business partners claims elderly customers feel safer, thus generating a revenue increase.

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