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ACLU Demands Lawmakers Act After Michigan Man Wrongfully Arrested 'Because Face Recognition Can't Tell Black People Apart'

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/06/24/aclu-demands-lawmakers-act-after-michigan-man-wrongfully-arrested-because-face


Yet another frightening parallel between our police and military. The same technology has been used for years outside the US to target people for incineration by Hellfire misslies among other forms of extreme, uncorrectable violence. Though few of these atrocities see the light of day, more than enough have to give an idea of what unchecked United States authorities use of cybertech against what they regard as enemies looks like.


I personally benefit from technology, because it gives me the opportunity to work from home (although the pandemic has eaten into my income something fierce).

That said, I’m convinced that technology, and specifically the internet – yeah, I know, I’m publishing this whining on the internet – is already shaping up as the ultimate undoing of mankind. The faith people put in it is incredible, and incredibly misplaced.

And the fact that we’re dragging the rest of the environment down with us is just sad as hell.


Hi SkepticTank:
There was that part of the novel 1984----when cameras were on everyone everywhere. Of course, the “authorities,” did make errors and truth was murdered frequently----There is a term we can use from Orwell and give a positive twist to the term of MEMORY HOLE. That is where facial recognition should go—all of it.


I had a high school student who went to Iraq and became a sniper. His superiors would give him a photo of someone, and when he found that person or someone who looked him, he would end that person’s life with a bullet to the head. After telling me this, he said, I don’t kill. My gun does.

Epilogue: I saw him a few years later. He was in constant pain and could barely use his hands due to exposure to depleted uranium.


…Cyber ID is inherently evil and more than greedy, these MFer’s need to be burned at the stake, no quarter, nothing less!!.. They are Nazi’s…



Here a cop claims that a man sitting in his front yard has a description matching that of a wanted man. They show the picture. All that is similar is they both black and have dreadlocks. I wonder if they using facial recognition technology.

As far as the Police are concerned and as far as this facial recognition software is concerned , if a black man committed a crime as long as a person is black he a suspect. They will look for any black man and try and arrest him. Obviously many of these people will get upset if they have done nothing wrong and the Police drive up demanding ID claiming them as suspects in a crime and when they do get angry , it escalates to "He was disorderly , he refused officers commands " and the cops resort to brute force almost immediately.

…ST, we don’t usually come to terms, this time you nailed it…

…This is one the more sad aspects of the MIC, they never apologize to their pawns. The propaganda goes like this. "Don’t sell them a piano, sell them the room to put it in… The room is the ‘war’, the piano’s are what makes the money, in other words the ‘war toys’ and the expendable pawns…Your student was a product, one of the pianos, the Middle East was the room to put it in…




Nomi Prins’s book titled IT TAKES A PILLAGE takes only a sideways glance at the upward legislative, political and social mobility of the former First Lady campaigning to move onward with her career as U.S. Senator from trans national Wall Street to Kissinger Associate Mandarin and then into the Obummer-Biden-Summers-Geithner-Holder-Duncan Cabinet of Apex Wall Street Predators as Madame Secretary of State who campaigned in the ashes of Washington policy continuity across Duopoly party lines and became the consecutive FINANCE REFORM administrations following the most recent collapse of Neo-Liberal E-CONomic doctrine’s half-century nexus with institutional corruption.

What’s that got to do with the rise of The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power?

The substance and at long last published title of what a retired and deeply disillusioned Harvard Business School Social Psychologist Shoshana Zuboff would take two decades of close observation and methodical research along with inter-disciplinary synthesized analysis to produce. Almost all of that peer reviewed work was retained within academic collaborations and muffled by the walls of ivy. It was done in either a media vacuum or a corporate-captured U.S. media academic blacklist that keeps scholars of less ideologically serviceable persuasions out of the regular rotation of Golden Rolodex experts piped into American homes to explain why all the wealth along with the working middle class is disappearing into non-audited off-shore accounts and idling rather than investing to maintain its anti-inflation currency value.

The Weapons of Mass Distraction are brought to U.S. by our own appetites and their curators in the Advertising and PR Industry birthed in the early 20th Century by Sigmund Freud’s double nephew, the Austrian American Edward Bernays whose own books Crytallizing Public Opinion and Propaganda laid a solid foundation for the Political Economies of both Public Relations (which the White House came to call The Office of Public Diplomacy under Latin American hemispheric media czar Otto Reich) and Advertising (wholesale, retail and even public service announcements as the last vestiges of FCC required Public Interest broadcasting were being disintegrated in the bubbling acidic cauldron of Cold War weaponized Neo-Liberal E-CONomic doctrine).

What’s all that got to do with a political mis-leader’s (or Ms. leader’s) misappropriation of an ancient African adage? "It takes a village to raise a child."

Nomi Prins’s casually delivered depth charges are Marx Brothers absurdist ad infinitum funny without intending to be and straightforward as tavern talk about her years thriving inside Goldman Sachs. She is also a laser beamed wiz at analyzing key forces that set the economic crises of trans national financialization in process around 2007-08, forces set in motion by non-audited electronic trading, the unfettering of global capital (thank you Houses of Bush and Clinton) and other symptoms of regulatory capture as well as corporate capture of U.S. mass media.

That may go back to 1967 in the case of Educational Broadcasting becoming the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, but as the Wiki page on Edward Bernays reveals how we got to our current Age of Plague is a many layered historical buffet of reckoning coming due:

"His best-known campaigns include a 1929 effort to promote female smoking by branding cigarettes as feminist “[Torches of Freedom] and his work for the [United Fruit Company] connected with the [CIA-orchestrated overthrow of the democratically elected Guatemalan government] in 1954.”

“He worked for dozens of major American corporations including [Procter & Gamble] and [General Electric] and for government agencies, politicians, and non-profit organizations.”

Worth at least a PBS Frontline reprise of Bill Moyers, who was after all LBJ’s Press Secretary whose latter career as Whistle Blower in the Public Interest may be penance for being part of the administration out of Texas that perpetrated the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution which gave only too much credence to a young Vietnam War draft-dodging heir to a Low Income Publicly Subsidized Housing contracting fortune in NYC to launch a life-long assault on the pursuit of truth and erect a Golden American Idol to the work-place boss where all truth is arrived at through the CEO\Chairman of the Board’s discretion. As economist Richard Wolf points out regularly in his classes or You Tube or alt media appearances, democracy has no place in the workplace where most Americans spend most of their time.

Mitch Ritter\Paradigm Sifters, Code Shifters and Song Chasers
Lay-Low Studios, Ore-Wa
Media Discussion List


Mis identification occurred long before this technology became available.
Using for felony seems valid to me.
With 335 million americans to sort through, the computor has to be fast - but we can slow it down, make it more precise in measurements used.

Chicago has about 36,000 cameras and a murder solved rate at less than 10%.
So this ID data base ain’t that good, in my opinion.

Kind of ironic that when spying is picking up we are wearing face masks.

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TechCrunch published an article yesterday by Miriam Vogel entitled “Biased AI Perpetuates Racial Injustice”.

The author says: “As we have learned, law enforcement activities such as predictive policing have too often targeted communities of color, resulting in a disproportionate number of arrests of persons of color. These arrests are then logged into the system and become data points, which are aggregated into larger data sets and, in recent years, have been used to create AI systems. This process creates a feedback loop where predictive policing algorithms lead law enforcement to patrol and thus observe crime only in neighborhoods they patrol, influencing the data and thus future recommendations. Likewise, arrests made during the current protests will result in data points in future data sets that will be used to build AI systems.”

It’s a fascinating read as she doesn’t limit her discussion to law enforcement. Eye opening.

I am not that pessimistic about the internet. Our society was already heading down the path of self destruction well before the internet was made. But I do think our use of it is misplaced.

Seems like the problems are too many. The technology is not perfected. Even if it were working at its best, ALL systems have error rates, falso positives. Programmers and sellers of such technology also have a built in bias, better to misidentify (when demoing or afternoon install) to rather match many than none, where none would not be impressive results.
Also what the cops do with it. I mean even with surveillance cameras, if a cop recognizes a perp (or THINKS HE DOES) there are very similar types. We’ve all been somewhere and seen a person that looks like a twin to someone we know. I’ve actually met my doppelgänger once years ago. Guy in a place looked incredibly like me. I got to worrying if he was a criminal, I’d be locked up for what he did. When my father passed away, a month later I was somewhere and saw a person that looked exactly like him. So much so I had a brief thought “did he fake his death?”.

So police shouldn’t be arresting based on a computer, much less their own guesses at someone’s identity from a photo. They could and should investigate, and talk to the person, hear if they had an alibi, etc. instead of just a computer delivers a name and they go and arrest the person based on that. That isn’t police work.

It is way too easy to misuse the technology, and when it in addition is so bad at identifying POC, and also can be used on crowd pictures, we are in Orwell territory. A side effect would be useful to such as Trump, get people afraid of the consequences of using their right to protest.

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The internet amplifies:

Echo chambers/silos
Surveillance (corporate and governmental)
Data Insecurity
Weaponized distractions
Targeted Advertising

Hi Christie. The story reminds me of others I’ve heard (I can only find a reference for the first):

The drone operator who said that she had no problem dropping a bomb that ripped a man apart and then watching him crawl out, with no bottom part of his body, in a hopeless attempt to survive. Her reason is that he was bad and deserved to die. s://www.thedailybeast.com/she-kills-people-from-7850-miles-away

The soldier that was waiting in ambush in Iraq and chose to kill innocent passersby, so that the ambush effort wouldn’t be revealed.

The soldier who set a bomb to kill a man, then watched as the man looked at pictures of family members who he would never see again and would never see him again.

Lots or horror in war.

I find it very disheartening that, since the #ShutDownSTEM, I’m finding an extremely hostile backlash by folk who claim that STEM can’t promote White Supremacy because science and math are “objective”. I’m sure these folk would also claim that STEM can’t support imperialism. I’m also hearing a much more vocal pushback against anti-militarism efforts. Some comments that I’ve heard are:

  • Without military R & D, you wouldn’t have the internet
  • Few in STEM actual make bombs. It isn’t really military work when folk in STEM develop missile guidance systems because these systems can be used for other applications as well.

With respect to Depleted Uranium, many advocates of nuclear energy claim that it does not pose a significant health risk even when the US uses it against “The Enemy” in military weapons (s://archive.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=45157).

It is pretty obviously a significant health risk to anyone on the receiving end of such munitions. And uranium is chemically toxic and carcinogenic, so there’s a significant health risk in the vicinity of where DU munitions have impacted, fragmented and burned. I have seen where advocates of nuclear energy have pushed back against claims of distant and even global health detriments due to diffused and dispersed levels of DU that fall far below the ambient levels of natural uranium, but the connection to nuclear energy there is merely that they know about uranium and the dilution effects of dispersal. There is no inherent connection between supporting the use of nuclear energy and supporting the use of DU munitions. Many of us happen to think using DU as a fuel is a much better use of it than shooting it at people.

Hi Trog,

I agree with your assessment of DU munitions. However, there are many who have argued that, aside from people shot with the munitions, DU munitions do not pose a significant health hazard. I recall, from the time of the heated debate during the Wars on Iraq, that many of those making such arguments were also advocates of nuclear power. One prominent voice, presented in the reference I cited, is the late Physicist Professor Bernand Cohen, who argued:

We have been using depleted uranium weapons for decades," he said Jan. 10 at the National Press Club here. “Depleted uranium is also used in most of our aircraft and most of our ships. It’s used as ballast. So it’s around us all the time and it doesn’t pose an unreasonable risk.”

Cohen responded to European claims that some allied troops have died after being exposed to DU used during NATO air operations in the Balkans. The 15-nation European Union has asked its scientists to determine whether illness and death among Balkans peacekeepers could be linked to ammunition containing DU.

“If there were any deficiency to be found,” Cohen had said to reporters a day earlier at the Pentagon, “it would be in the failure to pick up fragments of destroyed vehicles or tanks in which the depleted uranium projectiles were used.”

U.S. officials are confident that scientific inquiry will convince European allies that DU is not linked to leukemia or other forms of cancer as some have alleged, Cohen said.

“We will persuade our allies that this has been a responsible thing to do, and we intend to continue to use this depleted uranium,” he added.

I think you’ll find that was actually Defense Secretary William S. Cohen.