As revealed by the American site Gothamist, New York Police (NYPD) admitted to using facial recognition software to search for and arrest an activist in the movement Black Lives Matter. This last one is charged with assaulting an officer after yelling in his ear with a megaphone during a demonstration.

Found through an Instagram photo

On August 7, the New York police sent a dozen agents, some in riot gear, to Derrick Ingram, 28, an activist very involved in the anti-racist movement in the United States, born after the dead of George floyd. The confrontation with the police was broadcast live by the activist on Instagram. During the stop, he then asked the officers several times to provide a search warrant. The police refuse, says the American site. Many demonstrators flock to the home of Derrick Ingram, in sign of support. The police eventually withdraw. The next day, the activist finally presented himself to the police.

Why is this a problem? First because of the disproportion of the NYPD operation: the number, the equipment, the course against the fact of Derrick Ingram. Then, the mode of the investigation. On the day of the confrontation, FreedomNewsTV, present on the scene, managed to film one of the documents the police relied on to locate the activist: it is believed to be one of his photos posted on Instagram. For the avoidance of doubt, the title of the document is as follows: ” Facial Identification Section Informational Lead Report “(In French, information report from the head of the facial identification section).

“We have to be very careful”

A week later, the police confirmed to the site Gothamist that she had used facial recognition during the investigation. ” NYPD uses facial recognition as a limited investigative tool, comparing a still image on surveillance video to a database of legally detained arrest photos Said a spokesperson.

However, the photo of Derrick Ingram seems to have been taken on social networks. The correspondence is glaring (see photos above). So if this “private” photo were indeed part of this research base, it would be a violation of NYPD policy, since it is neither a still image from surveillance video nor a photo of arrest. In the face of widespread indignation, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, also told the Gothamist, that his office would review the standards for the use of facial recognition by police.

We have to be very careful and very limited in our use of anything related to facial recognition. Standards need to be reassessed. I will do it with my team and with the NYPD », He announced.

Massive use of facial recognition

Since 2011, the NYPD has used facial recognition software to identify suspects. In 2019, according to figures from the US Department of Justice, 9,850 requests were made on said software. Result: 2,510 “ possible matches Have been found.

But, the official figures are disputed. A report published by the site BuzzFeed News dating from February revealed that the NYPD had performed more than 11,000 facial recognition searches using the controversial firm’s technology Clearview AI – what the police denied.

A law to ban facial recognition?

The mayor of New York said this week that the NYPD will “ dispense “To use facial recognition, recalling that this technology was never used for” undermine or affect public expression or public protest “. In the Derrick Ingram case, the activist is accused of yelling into an officer’s ear with a megaphone during a protest in June, which the NYPD said caused ” prolonged hearing loss “, in addition to ” pain “.

The Manhattan State Senator Brad Hoylman, who proposed a bill to ban the use of facial recognition by New York police, said the case was ” further evidence that allowing [la police] establishing your own policy does not result in any meaningful protection for New Yorkers », As reported The Gothamist.

As for Derrick Ingram, he said the activists were ” specifically targeted by this technology because of the reason for the protests and because [qu’ils essayent] to deconstruct a system of which the police are a part ”. He added : “This is a waste of taxpayer money and money that could be reallocated to struggling people all over town.

Sources : Gothamist, FreedomNewsTV via The Verge

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