Facial recognition technology is flawed. Unfortunately, the technology tends to misidentify some people as others, which can mean the police arrest the wrong person. And, the technology has been shown to be racially biased.
As we discuss racial disparities in the criminal justice system, it's important to understand that the reason people of color are more deeply affected than their white peers is not because people of color are more prone to committing crimes. In fact, federal data indicates that people of all races tend to commit crimes at similar rates.
In the wake of nationwide and global protests over police racism and brutality, several large tech companies have backed off of plans to sell facial recognition technology to law enforcement.
In the wake of the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others, communities are reassessing the way they use police. Some, like Minneapolis, have made at least some changes to their police use of force policies.
Throughout the criminal justice system, people of color have traditionally been arrested more often, charged more harshly, given less access to bail, convicted at greater rates and sentenced to longer than their white peers. This has certainly carried through to drug enforcement.
After the police killings of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor in Louisville, protests erupted around the globe. Protestors decried the use of excessive force in these cases and in a long list of others over the previous months, years and decades.
According to a 1986 U.S. Supreme Court decision called Batson v. Kentucky, it violates the Equal Protection Clause for prosecutors to intentionally exclude potential jury members because of race. When the defense suspects the prosecutor is excluding jurors based on race, they can issue what is called a "Batson challenge."
One of the biggest problems facing criminal defendants may be the use of bad expert testimony. Courts are supposed to be gatekeepers for scientific claims. They're supposed to exclude any technical or scientific evidence that isn't "the product of reliable principles and methods" or that isn't supported by the majority of scientists in the given field.
America's main anti-hacking law is the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), which makes it illegal to "access a computer without authorization or exceed authorized access."
It's easy for law enforcement to overreach their powers in their efforts to stop crime. As the police use ever-more-intrusive methods for tracking people, they often raise the argument that the innocent people caught up in their dragnets have nothing to fear.