NYPD used facial recognition system to find protester activist

New York police using a facial recognition model have arrested an activist who participated in protests in the United States. The authorities said they will review the cases in which the technology can be used.

The New York City Police Department used facial recognition to track down a Black Lives Matter activist. He was suspected of assaulting a policeman – he shouted several slogans in the ear of a government official using a loudspeaker. The city administration has already announced that they will revise the rules according to which the police use standards for the use of facial recognition – in the future it will not be possible to use it to search for activists.

On August 7, dozens of police officers broke into the home of 28-year-old activist Derrick Ingram. He asked the officers to produce a search warrant, but they refused to do so. It was later revealed that the police obtained his whereabouts after using a facial recognition system.

NYPD is using facial recognition as a limited investigative tool, comparing a still image from a video footage to seizure photographs that we legally obtain. We will investigate cases where the system has been used illegally or for other purposes. If we are wrong, it will lead to an internal investigation and the necessary sanctions.

New York City Police Department Press Office

In response to the report, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio told Gothamist that the police will revise the standards for using facial recognition technology. “We have to be very careful and very limited in our use of everything related to face recognition. These standards must be revised”, he said.

The NYPD has been using this model for facial recognition since 2011. According to official statistics, in 2019, the department processed 9,850 requests using this software, resulting in 2,510 “possible matches.” An investigation by BuzzFeed noted that New York City police were looking for 11,000 people using the Clearview AI program. At the same time, the authorities deny the existence of a contract with this company.