Implementing facial recognition technology by government agencies has proven to be a controversial topic over the years. However, hundreds of law enforcement departments across the USA have already deployed the technology and begun to actively use it in investigations.
While most security agencies claim that they use it only for severe crimes, police agencies such as the Miami Police Department openly use facial recognition for any crime if they believe that would benefit the investigation. US law enforcement agencies favor the high-tech tool but generally try not to rely solely on the technology and appear not to use it as a sole reason to make an arrest.
However, many cities in the USA either have not deployed the technology yet or have banned it outright. One of the most prominent examples of banning facial recognition is San Francisco. The city, known as the world’s tech capital, was among the first to prohibit its police force from utilizing the new technology. However, the ban expired, and at this point, there are no regulations, so agencies in the crime-ridden city began using the tools. San Francisco might have gotten pressure on a state level, too, as California plans to heavily implement the facial recognition system during the upcoming major sporting events 2026 FIFA World Cup and 2028 Summer Olympics.
With the immense advancements of AI, the vast amounts of digital prints left by internet users harvested by facial recognition platforms, and the increased use of facial recognition by law enforcement agencies, it is safe to say that face recognition is here to stay. Like every other technology, it comes with pros and cons, and outweighing one over another is almost impossible. Of course, everyone would want a murderer to be caught as soon as possible after committing a crime. Still, not everyone would be thrilled if government officials were just a click away from having access to attendee lists of political rallies or religious meetings.
Many are trying to ban the use of technology and have even created a map where US residents can see whether their local police station has already deployed the high-tech tool. The site hosts the maps to provide clarity who uses the technology, and also encourages users to sign a petition that bans the government’s use of the technology.
No one really knows whether facial recognition holds the key to success. Ironically most of California’s safest cities do not use the high-tech tool. So even though law enforcement enjoys its capabilities, the key to preventing crime might not be hidden in the facial recognition technology at all; thus, facial recognition may not be necessary for every police department.