AI Weekly: New poll shows public’s view of facial recognition, DOJ isn’t tracking predictive policing spending

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This week in AI, a new poll by the Pew Center highlights Americans’ views on AI, including the use of facial recognition by police. In other news, the U.S. Department of Justice has stated that it does not have “accurate records.”[s]”On the purchase of its projected polishing technologies, a range of technologies that the investigation has shown to be biased against minority groups.

In the lure of crime reduction and case resolution time, law enforcement agencies have increasingly invented AI-powered tools such as facial recognition, drones and predictive policing software, trying to predict where crime will occur using historical data. According to Markets and Markets, police departments are expected to spend $ 18.1 billion on software tools, including AI-powered systems, up from $ 11.6 billion in 2019.

But the effectiveness of these systems has been repeatedly questioned. For example, an investigation by the Associated Press found that Shotspotter, a “gunfire locator service” that uses AI to triangle the source of a weapon’s dispersal, could miss live shots under its microphone or firecrackers or car backfiring. Can classify Extensive reports by Gizmodo and The Markeup, meanwhile, reveal that Geolytica (formerly known as Pridpole), a policing software that attempts to anticipate property crimes, disproportionately predicts that working-class people, in neighborhoods inhabited by people of color, Crimes will be committed. And especially black people.

Facial recognition, too, has been shown to be biased against “suspicious people” with certain skin tones and ethnicity. At least three people in the U.S. – all black men – have been falsely arrested on the basis of weak facial recognition matches. And studies, including the landmark Gender Shades project, have shown that facial technology, once marketed to the police, including Amazon’s identity, can incorrectly classify the faces of dark-skinned people.

But bilaterally, public support for the use of facial recognition by the police is relatively high, with the majority of recent Pew reports saying they agree with its deployment. The reason may be the relentless PR campaigns run by vendors like Amazon, who have argued that facial recognition can be a valuable tool in helping to find missing persons, for example. Or it could be ignorance about the shortcomings of the technology. According to Pune, those who have heard a lot about the use of facial recognition by the police are more likely to say that it is a bad idea for a society that has not heard anything about it.

The results of the Pew survey revealed racial segregation, with black and Hispanic adults more likely than white adults to say that the police would more accurately or perhaps use facial recognition to monitor black and Hispanic neighbors than other neighbors. Given that blacks and Hispanics are more likely to be arrested and jailed for petty crimes, as a result, more is presented in the mugshot data – data that has been used in the past to develop facial recognition algorithms – which is hardly surprising.

“Significant parts of people’s lives are now being tracked and monitored by the police, government agencies, corporations and advertisers. Can be. In public places and sometimes in stores, “writes the authors of the Pew study.

Department of Justice Predictable Policing

The Department of Justice (DOJ) is a growing investor in AI, which has awarded Veriton contracts for transcription services for its lawyers. The department is also a client of Clearview, a controversial face recognition vendor, where the entire FBI, drug enforcement administration and other DOJ agencies have used it to search for thousands of suspects.

But according to Gizmodo, the DOJ maintains a weak record of its spending – especially where it is concerned about speculative policing tools. Speaking with the release, a senior official said the Justice Department does not actively track whether the Edward Byron Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program (JAG), a leading source of criminal justice funding, is used to purchase probationary policing services.

Democratic senators, including Ron Wyden (D-OR), say he is concerned that he sent a letter in April 2020 to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland requesting basic information about the DOJ’s funding of AI-powered software. Wyden and his colleagues expressed concern that the software lacked meaningful oversight, that policing had potentially widespread racial bias, and that it could violate citizens’ rights to due process under the law.

Fear is not baseless. Gizmodo notes that audits of speculative instruments have found “no evidence that they are ineffective in preventing crime” and that they are often used “without transparency or … opportunities for public input”.

In 2019, the Los Angeles Police Department, which was testing a range of AI policing tools, admitted in an internal assessment that the tools “often deviate from their stated goals.” That same year, researchers at New York University found in a study that nine police agencies fed software data generated “during a period when the department was involved in a variety of illegal and biased police practices.”

“It’s unfortunate that the Department of Justice chose not to answer most of my questions about federal funding for projected policing programs,” Wyden said, suggesting to Gizmodo that it may be time for Congress to weigh the ban on technology. Already, a number of cities, including Santa Cruz, California, and New Orleans, Louisiana, have banned the use of speculative policing programs. But partisan squabbles and special interests have so far hampered efforts at the federal level.

For AI coverage, send news tips to Kyle Wiggers – and be sure to subscribe to the AI ​​weekly newsletter and bookmark our AI channel, The Machine.

Thanks for reading,

Kyle Wiggers

Senior AI Staff Writer

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