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One Of The Country's Major Suppliers Of Police Body Cameras Has Banned Facial Recognition. But That Isn't Enough

As awareness around facial recognition continues to grow, a primary concern has been its potential to open up new frameworks for mass surveillance. That concern grew even more pressing as people realized that facial recognition could potentially be used in body cameras, essentially creating roving, real-time surveillance systems on the chests of police. On Thursday, Axon — the company that created the Taser and supplies 47 out of the 69 largest police agencies in the United States with body cameras and software — announced a ban on the use of facial recognition on its devices . Although this can certainly be considered a temporary victory, Axon’s announcement must be carefully analyzed — both within social contexts, the words that the company used, and its own history. Axon’s decision comes from the first report of an AI and Policing Technology Ethics Board that the company originally formed in April of 2018. The board was developed to lead Axon in ethically developing products and...

Vanessa Taylor

Jun 28, 2019

The Top Maker of Police Body Cameras Has Reportedly Filed Patents For Facial Recognition Technology

Facial recognition technology remains a highly contested issue, with many advocates concerned about how it will exacerbate pre-existing social issues. These concerns are rising once again after the Financial Times reported Axon Enterprise — one of the top body camera suppliers for the police — filed patents for facial recognition technologies. In 2016 and 2018, Axon filed patents for a video redaction product, as reported by the Financial Times. The product analyzes footage recorded on Axon’s own body cameras in order to find and blur out sensitive information. With that tool, facial recognition would be used to black out faces on a large scale. The company also filed a patent in 2017 that is still pending approval. According to the Financial Times, that patent is for a real-time video analysis software that would use facial recognition. Similar to programs like Florida’s Face Analysis Comparison Examination System (FACES), the system would take a picture of someone’s face and...

Vanessa Taylor

Apr 11, 2019