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LAPD face biometrics policy approved by Commission

Facial recognition tool will be deployed with ‘strong oversight’
LAPD face biometrics policy approved by Commission

The Los Angeles Police Commission has unanimously approved the Los Angeles Police Department’s (LAPD’s) police for the deployment of facial recognition technologies to identify suspects, KFI reports.

In particular, after the ruling, the biometric photo comparison technology utilized by Los Angeles County’s Digital Mugshot System will be able to identify suspects only to investigate crimes, mitigate an imminent threat to life, and help identify a person who is incapable of identifying themselves.

To mitigate privacy advocates’ worries, the LAPD clarified it cannot use the facial recognition platform outside the county’s mugshot system.

“This is a system that is not an active system, meaning the only time information or photo comparisons are brought to the system is when we are conducting a criminal investigation or mitigating an imminent threat,” commented Chief Michel Moore during the Los Angeles Police Commission meeting.

Furthermore, all matches found by the system will be investigated further by human analysts, to limit racial and sexual disparities that are known to exist within facial recognition systems.

This, however, may not be enough to prevent the biometric system’s biases, according to the Stop Spying LAPD organization.

“Face recognition software systemically misidentifies people of color, women, trans and nonbinary persons, and youth, putting our communities at greater risk of police violence and abuse,” the group said.

Eileen Decker, president of the Los Angeles Police Commission, said she acknowledged the concerns of people in the community, adding that the Inspector General will work with the executive committee of the Commission institute a “strong oversight system” to address them, based on the sole modification made to the policy.

Several other cities in California have enacted restrictions on the use of face biometrics by local agencies, with Oakland the latest.

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