CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVISTS have successfully pushed for bans on police use of facial recognition in cities like Oakland, San Francisco, and Somerville, Massachusetts. Now, a coalition led by Amnesty International is setting its sights on the nation’s biggest city—New York—as part of a drive for a global moratorium on government use of the technology.
Amnesty’s #BantheScan campaign is backed by Legal Aid, the New York Civil Liberties Union, and AI for the People, among other groups. After New York, the group plans to target New Delhi and Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia.
“New York is the biggest city in the country,” says Michael Kleinman, director of Amnesty International’s Silicon Valley Initiative. “If we can get New York to ban this technology, that shows that it’s possible to ban it almost anywhere.”
Activists have long sounded the alarm about the risks of police use of facial recognition. The technology is less accurate on dark-skinned people, contributing to the wrongful arrests of Black men in New Jersey and Michigan. Last year, BuzzFeed News reported the NYPD had run over 11,000 facial recognition searches using software purchased from Clearview AI.
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