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Facial-recognition technology leads to wrongful arrests

On Behalf of | Dec 27, 2021 | Criminal law

The state’s attorney general ordered law enforcement to stop using facial-recognition software in 2020. This was after a New Jersey man was wrongfully identified in 2019 by facial-recognition software in a police cruiser as a shoplifter when the suspect fled the scene. The misidentified man then went to law enforcement in Woodbridge (a town he never visited before) to clear his name, and they promptly arrested him and put him in jail for 10 days.

He fought the charges and, ultimately, the court dismissed them. The former inmate, who is black, had been out of jail since 2016 and is a law-abiding citizen. The man now filed a lawsuit accusing police of excessive force, false imprisonment, and cruel and unusual punishment, and the state stopped using the software.

Casinos use this software

Casinos were early adopters of facial-recognition software, using the technology to create and gather customer information. Now there are nearly identical lawsuits against Caesar’s Harrah’s Casino and Penn National’s Hollywood Casino for breaching Pennsylvania’s Biometric Information Privacy Act. The casinos did not inform customers that a feed from their security cameras used this technology. Not only does this technology violate citizen’s right to privacy, but it could also misidentify those engaged in criminal activity.

Flawed technology could lead to wrongful arrests

The New Jersey man’s misidentification and subsequent arrest is, unfortunately, not an isolated incident. There have been several cases where this technology has misidentified individuals. Moreover, the software is found to be notably unreliable in identifying dark-skinned people. These factors contributed to the New Jersey attorney general’s decision to discontinue law enforcement’s facial-recognition use.

The Atlantic City casinos’ use of facial-recognition software could lead to serious legal problems. While innocent victims may be able to file a lawsuit for damages later, first, they will need the help of a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney. They can help protect a client’s rights and freedoms when casinos seek to punish the innocent.