NYPD Domain Awareness System, facial recognition

June 2020
Updated: March 2022

Hot on the heels of Microsoft's decision to join IBM and Amazon in temporarily barring police from using its facial recognition technologies, a group of digital and privacy activists has published (pdf) a letter requesting that Microsoft stop working with the NYPD on its Domain Awareness System (DAS).

The Surveillance Technology Oversight Project says the system contributes to the 'warrantless spying' of citizens and 'may be even more biased, invasive, and destructive than facial recognition'. DAS 'utilizes the largest networks of cameras, license plate readers, and radiological sensors in the world' according to the NYPD.

Amnesty 'Ban the scan'

In January 2021, Amnesty International launched 'Ban the Scan', a campaign calling on New York City authorities to halt police and government use of the technology.

Specifically, Amnesty is encouraging NYC residents to file comments on the use of facial recognition by the NYPD under the Public Oversight of Surveillance Technologies Act. It will also help them with freedom-of-information requests.

The NYPD and Microsoft announced their DAS partnership in 2012 as an anti-terrorism measure.

Operator: New York Police Department
Developer: Microsoft
Country: USA
Sector: Govt - police
Purpose: Strengthen public safety, security
Technology: Facial recognition
Issue: Surveillance; Privacy; Bias/discrimination - race, ethnicity; Dual/multi-use
Transparency: Governance; Privacy

Reference

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