The POST Act has a troubled legislative historical past, having languished in committee because it was first launched in 2017. 13 different cities, together with San Francisco, have already adopted comparable legal guidelines. And, because the nation has been racked by protests stemming from the demise of George Floyd in Minneapolis, a handful of tech companies have vowed to maneuver away from the police surveillance enterprise.
Final week, Arvind Krishna, the chief govt of I.B.M., despatched a letter to Congress informing lawmakers that his firm opposed using facial recognition instruments, involved they may very well be used for “mass surveillance” and “racial profiling.” A number of days later, Amazon introduced that it had put in place a yearlong moratorium on promoting facial recognition software program to the police.
In New York Metropolis, the POST Act is supported by dozens of privateness and civil liberties teams, 70 of which despatched a letter to the Council late final yr denouncing the police division’s acquisition of “highly-invasive applied sciences” like Stingray cellphone trackers and synthetic intelligence applications that map out individuals’s on-line social networks.
“These applied sciences pose a novel danger to black and brown New Yorkers who the N.Y.P.D. has subjected to harmful, invasive policing ways for many years,” Donna Lieberman, the manager director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, mentioned in an announcement praising the invoice’s passage. “Many of those instruments haven’t any place within the palms of legislation enforcement, and extra motion is required to curtail N.Y.P.D. policing and surveillance abuses.”
The police division has acknowledged using some technological strategies — although often solely underneath stress from activists and civil libertarians. Considered one of its broadest surveillance tasks is the Area Consciousness System, a device it developed with Microsoft after the fear assaults of Sept. 11 that connects the most important community of cameras, license plate readers and radiological sensors on the earth.
One focus of the division’s info-tech efforts is the Actual Time Crime Middle, a room in Police Headquarters the place a 500-square-foot video display, linked to surveillance cameras and databases of images of birthmarks and scars on doable suspects, has helped investigators clear up crimes for greater than a decade.
Many facets of the division’s use of facial recognition have come to mild solely due to a lawsuit by Georgetown College Regulation Faculty’s Middle on Privateness and Expertise. The go well with, which stays ongoing in Manhattan, has led to the discharge of a cache of inside division paperwork, some exhibiting that police investigators loaded hundreds of arrest photographs of youngsters and youngsters into a web based database. In idea, the database may assist detectives evaluate the faces with pictures from crime scenes, however proof means that the know-how has the next danger of false matches in youthful faces.