Facial recognition technology has recently become increasingly popular in law enforcement and private industries. While proponents of facial recognition claim that it is an effective tool for identifying criminals and enhancing public safety, many are concerned about its potential for abuse and violation of privacy rights. One such concern is Clearview facial recognition technology, which has recently been scrutinized in Minneapolis. This article will examine the controversy surrounding the Minneapolis City Council Clearview decision to take a stand against its use.
What is Clearview Facial Recognition Technology?
Clearview is a facial recognition technology developed by a company of the same name. Law enforcement agencies designed it to identify suspects by comparing images of their faces to a database of over 3 billion photos scraped from social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. According to Clearview’s website, its technology can match pictures with up to 99.6% accuracy, making it one of the most powerful facial recognition tools.
However, Clearview’s use of scraped data has raised serious concerns about privacy and protection. Several social media platforms have sued the company for violating their terms of service and using data without consent. In addition, Clearview has been criticized for selling its technology to private companies, which could use it for surveillance or other purposes.
Controversy Surrounding Clearview
Clearview’s use of scraped data has drawn criticism from privacy advocates and technology experts. The company’s database includes photos of millions of people who never consented to use their images for facial recognition. In addition, the accuracy of facial recognition technology can be affected by factors such as lighting, angles, and facial expressions, leading to false positives and incorrect identifications.
Clearview’s technology has also been linked to several controversial uses and in 2020, the New York Times reported that law enforcement agencies had used Clearview to identify Black Lives Matter protesters, raising concerns about the potential for racial profiling and abuse of power.
Minneapolis Takes a Stand Against Clearview
In response to these concerns, the Minneapolis City Council voted unanimously in February 2021 to ban the use of facial recognition technology by city departments, including the police. The ban explicitly includes Clearview’s technology and other facial recognition tools that rely on scraped data.
The decision was praised by privacy advocates and civil rights groups, who argue that facial recognition technology threatens civil liberties and exacerbates racial biases in law enforcement. The ban also reflects a growing movement against facial recognition technology in cities across the United States, with several other cities, including San Francisco, Boston, and Portland enacting similar bans.
What’s Next for Facial Recognition Technology?
The controversy surrounding Clearview and facial recognition technology highlights the need for a national conversation about biometric surveillance tools. While facial recognition can be a powerful tool for identifying criminals and protecting public safety, it poses serious privacy and civil liberties risks.
As the debate continues, policymakers and the public need to consider the potential consequences of using facial recognition technology, particularly in light of recent events such as the Black Lives Matter protests and the Capitol insurrection. While the Minneapolis City Council’s ban on Clearview is a step in the right direction, much work must be done to ensure facial recognition technology is used responsibly and ethically.
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