Risks of Using AI-Based Facial Recognition in Policing

Jun 07 2022 Posted: 10:50 IST

Prof Michael Madden is one of the signatories to a letter in the Irish Times newspaper of 2 June 2022, recommending against recent a government proposal for An Garda Siochana (the Irish police force) making use of facial recognition technologies: Garda use of facial recognition technologies unnecessary and disproportionate – The Irish Times

This follows on from an interview he did last week with the Irish Times, in which he expressed his personal view that there are several problems with AI-based facial recognition: Facial recognition technology ‘not advanced enough’ for use by Garda – The Irish Times

Issues he noted included:

- Systems are not as accurate in practice as vendors claim;

- Many systems rely on names and photos harvested without informed consent from sites such as LinkedIn and social media sites;

- Systems also use names and photos uploaded from police records, which is potentially a mis-use of data under GDPR;

- Vendors are not transparent about the algorithms and data they use, but analysis of other face datasets has shown that they disproportionately contain images of Caucasian males, leading to poorer performance on other groups.