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June 12, 2021
The NYPD controls an extensive network of cameras that it can use to track New Yorkers across the city, raising concerns about invasive and discriminatory policing tactics, according to an investigation by Amnesty International.
The NGO enlisted thousands of volunteers to hunt for cameras at intersections in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx, in an effort to document the size and scope of the New York Police Department’s surveillance capabilities. In total, 15,280 cameras were located. When synced with facial recognition technology, the cameras are capable of tracking New Yorkers across all three boroughs, Amnesty said. Matt Mahmoudi, an artificial intelligence and human rights researcher at Amnesty International, said the vast network of cameras means you are “never anonymous” when walking through the city. “This sprawling network of cameras can be used by police for invasive facial recognition, and risks turning New York into an Orwellian surveillance city.”
The NYPD set these cameras up to track New Yorkers through facial recognition. Amnesty International set up an investigation on 4 May 2021 to track the cameras and collect data. All participants were asked to walk around New York City and track all of the cameras. These facial recognition cameras have been used since 2011 at NYPD’s Real Time Crime Center. This database holds these photos in a storage. Many are arguing that this is an act of racial inequality, vouching that it is targeting certain groups of people based on race, gender, and ethnicity. “Using FRT with images from thousands of cameras across the city risks amplifying racist policing, harassment of protesters, and could even lead to wrongful arrests,” said Amnesty international.
According to the NYC website, the NYPD uses facial recognition to identify subjects who were involved in crimes such as robberies, burglaries, and shootings. Since 2017, the NYPD has used facial recognition technology (FRT) in 22,000 cases. The NYPD is still heavily present in the cities, but this allows them to catch more going on behind the scenes. There are no laws protecting against this use of facial recognition surveillance. However, the facial recognition technology has millions of faces in their storage due to the cameras along with taking photos from social media platforms without consent. [RT].
ARTICLE: DANI EGAN
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: NY POST