News 02 Jul 2024

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The state of Michigan will have some of the most stringent laws on the use of facial recognition in the United States.

Highly Stringent Facial Recognition Policies to be Adopted in Michigan

Author: admin | 02 Jul 2024

A lawsuit filed by a Detroit citizen against the government has recently reached a settlement, with major consequences for the facial recognition technology Michigan uses for law enforcement, and possibly for the rest of the United States as well.

Back in 2020, Robert Williams, a citizen of Detroit was wrongly arrested for the purported theft of some watches, right in front of his family. The arrest happened as a result of Williams being misidentified through law enforcement face recognition use, where it found a match between low-quality CCTV footage, and a photo lineup.

As a result of the wrongful arrest, Williams along with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit against the state of Michigan. That lawsuit has now reached a settlement, which mandates that the state adopt much more strict policies when it comes to the use of facial recognition for criminal identification and activity detection.

Stricter Use Policies

The settlement prohibits police from apprehending or arresting an individual based solely on the output provided by a facial recognition system, or combined with a photo lineup. A photo lineup itself cannot be conducted with any reliable external evidence that links the concerned individual with any criminal activity.

In addition, rules on more strict approval requirements for the use of facial recognition in police department investigation in the first place, including filling out additional forms with critical information, and training officers on the use of the technology to minimize such future instances, especially concerning people of color.

Suggested Reading: Sweden Plans to Deploy Facial Recognition Technology for Law Enforcement to Identify Criminals

Retroactive and Past Actions

A third element of the settlement includes performing a comprehensive audit of all police warrants and actions taken as a result of output taken from facial recognition systems as far back as 2017. This is to further check for any irregularities.

As a result of a similar previous wrongful arrest back in 2023, the Detroit police force amended its policy on facial recognition to require “three independent signoffs” on the use of tech before it would be allowed to be used in an investigation in the first place.

Combining these new policies with the ones from last year means that Michigan law will contain some of the strongest US facial recognition laws to be implemented so far.