Facial ID technology could be misused by police – MDCLC

Kimberly2 1Author:

Kimberly J. Benjamin, Founder & Managing Attorney

More stores in Missouri and other states are taking advantage of facial recognition technology to identify and track shoplifters. This same technology is also being used to create digital records of collected data, which may subsequently be shared with other businesses in the same network. Ultimately, this means that someone who was accused of shoplifting in one store may be banned from other locations they’ve never even visited before.

While there’s no denying the possible benefits associated with facial recognition technology for shopkeepers looking to deter theft, privacy advocates fear that the collected data could be misused. The American Civil Liberties Union is one of the groups that has expressed concern about losing the ability to walk around without fear of being tracked. A gap in standards also means there’s the possibility of misidentifying innocent bystanders if facial ID software isn’t accurate.

Additionally, there are some questionable features that facial ID providers offer. For example, one company automatically enrolls people as they pass within the camera’s view. A security watchlist is then created. If a logged person enters a store, security is alerted. Because such technology is often cloud-based, offenders could be barred from visiting multiple locations of the same business. Businesses using such software are at their own discretion as to how it’s used. However, providers do not take responsibility for instances when someone is falsely accused of being a shoplifter.

It’s up to law enforcement officials when it comes to taking action on facial ID info or related security camera footage provided by businesses. Therefore, it may be necessary for a person facing shoplifting charges to retain a criminal defense lawyer so that their legal rights can be maintained. Legal counsel could recommend appropriate steps if inaccurate facial ID results in threats of prosecution.

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