A Georgia man was arrested on a fugitive warrant after facial recognition technology mistakenly linked him to the theft of luxurious purses in a state he’d not been to.
Randall Reid, 28, was arrested in DeKalb County, Georgia after law enforcement officials followed their facial recognition technology matches, which ended up being wrong.
“They told me I had a warrant out of Jefferson Parish. I said, ‘What is Jefferson Parish?'” Reid said.
“I have never been to Louisiana a day in my life. Then they told me it was for theft. So not only have I not been to Louisiana, I also don’t steal,” he added.
Reid, who is black, was released five days after the sheriff in Jefferson rescinded the warrant due to differences in his face.
According to the surveillance image, Reid’s lawyer, Tommy Calogero, said there was about a 40-pound difference between Reid and the purse thief.
The case has ignited new criticism of facial recognition technology, specifically dark skin, where the technology has proven to be even more inaccurate.
According to research, facial recognition technology is more likely to misidentify black people than white people but has overall low accuracy levels.
According to Gizmodo, Some law enforcement officials acknowledge facial recognition is only suitable to generate leads and should never be used as the sole basis for arrest warrants. But there are very few rules governing the technology. Cops often ignore that advice and take face recognition at face value.
As The Daily Mail notes:
In July, New Orleans City Council voted to allow police to use facial recognition after several people complained about privacy issues, NOLA reported.
Police can use facial recognition to identify suspects of violent crimes after all other tactics fail.
Authorities in New Orleans say facial recognition can be used only to generate leads, and officers must get approval from department officials before lodging a request through the Louisiana State Analytic and Fusion Exchange in Baton Rouge.
Under the latest city rules, all possible matches must undergo a peer review by other facial recognition investigators.
Legislation to restrict the use of facial recognition statewide died in a 2021 legislative session.