Racial profiling isn’t limited to the real world. According to reports, Amazon’s facial recognition technology falsely identified athletes as criminals.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Massachusetts conducted tests using a widely available facial recognition technology called “Rekognition,” and the software falsely matched 27 New England professional athletes to individuals in a mugshot database. New England Patriots’ Duron Harmon was one of the athletes mistakenly matched with images in the arrest photo database.
“This technology is flawed,” said Harmon, the New England Patriots safety. “If it misidentified me, my teammates, and other professional athletes in an experiment, imagine the real-life impact of false matches. This technology should not be used by the government without protections. Massachusetts should press pause on face surveillance technology.”
“The results of this scan add to the mounting evidence that unregulated face surveillance technology in the hands of government agencies is a serious threat to individual rights, due process, and democratic freedoms,” said Kade Crockford, director of the Technology for Liberty Program at the ACLU of Massachusetts. “Face surveillance is dangerous when it doesn’t work, and when it does. There are currently no rules or standards in place in our state to ensure the technology isn’t misused or abused. Massachusetts must pass a moratorium on government use of face surveillance technology until there are safeguards in place to keep people safe and free.”
Last year, the ACLU of California conducted a similar test and the results misidentified 28 sitting members of Congress. The false matches were disproportionately people of color, including six members of the Congressional Black Caucus. Multiple studies of facial recognition technology have found systems to be inaccurate when used against women and people of color.
The flawed results matched these players with the criminal database: New England Patriots’ Duron Harmon, David Andrews, Adam Butler, Yodny Cajuste, Keionta Davis, Phillip Dorsett, Stephen Gostkowski, Jonathan Jones, Lance Kendricks, David Parry, Danny Shelton, Dan Skipper, James White and Isaiah Wynn; Boston Bruins’ Sean Kuraly, Karson Kuhlman, Brad Marchand, John Moore and Joakim Nordstrom; Boston Red Sox’ Heath Hembree, Steve Pearce, Chris Sale, Hector Velazquez, Christian Vazquez and Brandon Workman; and Boston Celtics Tacko Fall and Gordon Hayward.