The largest police force in the United States could soon identify
criminals by their faces and streamline reporting by digitally collecting evidence, but the potential for much broader uses and abuses also exists.
VentureBeat’s Richard Bryne Reilly wrote that the
NYPD is participating in Google’s Glass Explorer program. The
program was established as a public beta for the Android-powered smart devices.
The department only has a few pairs, but it could become a big customer for Google
with its 34,500 strong force.
speculates that the NYPD could deploy facial recognition software on Glass. It
would likely require a cloud server and speedy Internet connection, but the
U.S. Department of Homeland Security has already
built such a system. Google has also opened up Glass to third party software
developers. The NYPD could also replace handwritten reports with digital
videos and voice dictation which could save time and money.
Another beneficial use case
could be for translation. New York City is linguistically
diverse; there may be over 800 languages spoken there. The ability to
understand people speaking different languages without a translator would help
officers in the field and could potentially save lives of both officers and civilians.
advocates, however, may not be encouraged by broad police adoption. The department has a
history of spying, which in some cases may have been illegal.
I’ll be even more dystopian: Homeland Security has put resources into studying
signs of deception and some Android apps have been made to detect emotions. A case could be made for using Glass to prevent terror incidents, but the potential for abuse of the technology is troubling.
Why stop with known threats? There's a plethora of information on would-be suspects on social media and in commercial databases. There isn't much about us that's not public.
It's worth asking whether our perceived
intent could be cause for a “stop and
frisk” or mass
arrest. The NYPD has been sued for both activities within recent years.
Could the next “stop and frisk” be for “face-crime?” Privacy policies should be preventative
- not reactive to abuse of power under the guise of public safety.
(image credit: officer.com)
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com