According to The New York Times, police departments across the U.S. are now using facial recognition technology similar to that used by the military to "identify potential terrorists." Albeit its use is raising "questions of privacy and concerns about potential misuse" due to a lack of guidelines, the technology is significantly faster than fingerprinting.
Facial recognition technology was first developed in the 1960s, but only recently became accurate enough for widespread use. It is among an array of technologies, including StingRay tracking devices and surveillance aircraft with specialized cameras, that were used in overseas wars but have found their way into local law enforcement.
The software can identify 16,000 points on a person’s face — to determine the distance between the eyes or the shape of the lips, for instance — and compare them with thousands of similar points in police booking or other photos at a rate of more than one million faces a second.
The technology is so new that experts say they are unaware of major legal challenges. In some cities, though, a backlash is stirring.
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