Detroit police can no longer use facial recognition results as the sole basis for arrests

The Detroit Police Department must adopt new rules limiting its reliance on facial recognition technology after the city this week reached a settlement with Robert Williams, a black man who was wrongfully arrested in 2020 due to a fake facial match. However, this is not a blanket ban on the technology and the court’s power to enforce the agreement is only extended for four years. Which is under new restrictions calls for such a policy, the strongest in the country for law enforcement, that police cannot make arrests based solely on facial recognition results or conduct lineups based solely on facial recognition potential.

It was Williams was arrested after facial recognition technology flagged his expired driver’s license photo matched the identity of an alleged shoplifter, which police later used to create a photo lineup. He was arrested in his home, in front of his family, who said that he “turned my life upside down”. Detroit PD has been known to do at least two other illegal arrests based on facial recognition results technology (FRT), and in both cases, the victims were Black, the ACLU noted in its announcement of the settlement. Studies have shown that facial recognition .

The new rules provide that “[a]n An FRT host, in conjunction with a series of identities, can never be sufficient grounds to seek a restraining order,” according to a summary of the agreement. There must also be “additional independent and credible evidence linking the suspect to the crime.” Detroit police will be required to train on technology that eliminates racial bias in accuracy rates, and by 2017 all cases where facial recognition is used to obtain arrest warrants will be screened.

op-ed for Published today, Williams wrote that the agreement essentially means that “DPD will no longer be able to substitute facial recognition for basic investigative police work.”

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