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New York Criminal Charges Based on Flawed Facial Recognition Software

Facial recognition is a widely-used technological device that uses cameras and artificial intelligence to identify facial features and track people. In some cases, facial recognition is a useful tool in identifying individuals, allowing them to enter buildings, computer systems, phones, and log in to accounts swiftly and safely. However, like many types of technology, facial recognition is not foolproof. The technology flaws can lead to misidentification and false New York criminal charges. It is essential that those facing criminal charges based on facial recognition technology consult with a New York attorney to discuss their rights and defenses.

The New York Times recently reported on another false arrest and incarceration based on an incorrect facial recognition match. The arrest arose when police accused a man of shoplifting candy and attempting to hit an officer with his car. Officers used facial recognition software, and identified the falsely accused man, even though he was over 30 miles away when the incident occurred. The man spent nearly two weeks in jail and spent approximately $5,000 in defense fees before the case was dismissed almost a year later. The man is suing the Woodbridge, NJ Police, prosecutor, and City, for violating his civil rights, based on his false arrest and imprisonment.

In the man’s case, police responded to a call about a person stealing items from the gift shop. When police approached the individual, he offered to pay for the items and provided officers with a fraudulent license, before running into his car and driving off. Police submitted the license photo to a state agency that runs the facial recognition software. The agency stated that they received a match to the falsely identified man. Although the man lived over a half an hour away, worked at a grocery store, and had limited similarities to the license photo-police arrested and charged him. This charge was particularly frightening for the man because of his history with the criminal justice system; if he were convicted, he would have received a long sentence. He recounted that he almost took the prosecutor’s plea deal out of fear. Fortunately, he was able to obtain proof that he was at a pharmacy when the incident occurred.

Despite the known flaws with facial recognition, the technology continues to be used by law enforcement. A national study on facial recognition software revealed that the technology is not as accurate on Black and Asian individuals. Law enforcement and proponents of the software often tout the software’s usefulness and defends its use by contending that it is used as a clue, rather than definitive proof. However, many individuals argue that their arrests were solely based on a system match.

Have You Been Charged with a New York Crime?

If you or someone you know has been arrested or charged with a serious New York crime, the attorneys at Tilem & Associates can help. The attorneys at our law firm have extensive experience successfully representing criminal defendants during all aspects of their cases. We stay up-to-date with all advancing technology and work with qualified experts to question suspect evidence, such as facial recognition software. We handle all types of criminal cases, including New York theft cases, drug arrests, assault and battery offenses, and more. Contact our office at 877-377-8666 to discuss your case and learn how we can assist you.

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