CEO: “arrest should not be based on a facial recognition search alone”; Victim Speaks after Being Falsely Arrested, Wrongfully Imprisoned

By B.N. Frank

Facial recognition and other sources of artificial intelligence (A.I.) technology can be biased, inaccurate, and privacy invasive (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5).  Nevertheless, it – as well as other privacy invasive technology – is still being used by American police departments (see 1, 2) which sometimes leads to innocent people being arrested and imprisoned.  Recently another victim decided to speak out.

From Daily Mail UK:

Georgia man, 29, spends a week in jail after faulty facial recognition system linked him to stolen credit cards in Louisiana (where he’s never even been)

  • Randal Quran Reid, 29, was arrested on bogus charges in November
  • Police in Georgia arrested him on two theft warrants from Louisiana
  • Reid had never been to Louisiana, and was implicated by faulty facial ID

By Keith Griffith For

A Georgia man has spoken out after he was falsely charged with theft based on a faulty facial recognition ID, and spent nearly a week in jail before the charges were dropped.

Randal Quran Reid, 29, was mistakenly arrested on November 25 during a traffic stop outside Atlanta, on two theft warrants out of Baton Rouge and Jefferson Parish in Louisiana.

The charges, it later emerged, related to the use of stolen credit cards to buy more than $13,000 worth of designer purses from Chanel and Louis Vuitton from a consignment store outside New Orleans, and another shop in Baton Rouge.

However, Reid, who works as a transportation analyst, was baffled by the charges, because he had never even been to Louisiana, and initially had no idea that he’d been linked to the crimes by facial recognition.

‘I’m locked up for something I have no clue about,’ Reid told the New York Times in a report on the case published on Friday.

Reid ended up spending six days in jail before the bogus charges were dropped, missing a week of work and spending thousands of dollars on defense attorneys in both Georgia and Louisiana before investigators admitted their error.

The case is not the first false arrest based on facial recognition technology, but it does illustrate the dangers when charges stem from AI in a way that is not made clear to defendants or judges.

According to the Times, none of the court documents in the case mentioned facial recognition, with the arrest warrant affidavit citing a ‘credible source.’

But a person with direct knowledge of the investigation confirmed to the newspaper that facial recognition technology had been used to identify Reid as the man seen on surveillance cameras in the Second Act consignment shop in Jefferson Parish.

Apparently, sheriff’s investigators used facial recognition technology to scan surveillance footage from the shop, and falsely identified Reid as the heavyset black male seen using the stolen credit card.

The charges in Baton Rouge appeared to stem directly from that case, after the same stolen credit card was used to make more fraudulent purchases.

The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office in 2019 signed a contract with one facial recognition vendor, Clearview AI, which it pays $25,000 a year, according to the Times.

Spokespersons for Clearview AI and the Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to requests for comment from on Friday afternoon.

The company’s chief executive, Hoan Ton-That, told the Times that an arrest should not be based on a facial recognition search alone.

‘Even if Clearview AI came up with the initial result, that is the beginning of the investigation by law enforcement to determine, based on other factors, whether the correct person has been identified,’ he said.

‘More than one million searches have been conducted using Clearview AI. One false arrest is one too many, and we have tremendous empathy for the person who was wrongfully accused.’

Sheriff Joseph P. Lopinto III of Jefferson Parish told the outlet Reid’s arrest was ‘unfortunate by all means.’

‘As soon as we realized it wasn’t him, we moved mountains in order to get him out of jail,’ he added.

Several years ago, many US jurisdictions issued bans on law enforcement use of facial recognition, citing racial bias in the technology and false identifications, often of black people.

But the technology has been resurgent due to rising crime rates, with several cities and states rolling back their bans.

(See article link above for photos)

Activist Post reports regularly about A.I., facial recognition, and other privacy invasive and unsafe technologies.  For more information, visit our archives.

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