Ultimately, this is the problem with wide-scaled facial recognition use. It’s going to “find” a lot of similar looking people.
For an extreme example of what can go wrong, take data recently released by an EU Freedom of Information request and then posted by the South Wales police. It shows that at the Champions League final game in Cardiff last year, South Wales police logged 173 true face matches and wrongly identified a whopping 2,297 people as suspicious—a 92 percent false positive rate.
If you were one of the thousands of people who were just sitting at a football match and got pulled out of the crowd because the AI happened to think you looked like someone the police were interested in, this system was an abject failure. I’d be interested in knowing how much time and what the process was for each of these individuals to be cleared? Did it involve getting pulled out of the crowd in front of their family? Questioning? Missing part of the match?
Yes, facial recognition could help find law breakers. It could also wrongly identify people as criminals who aren’t, and that’s the real challenge. How do you have freedom when there is always the threat of being stopped or arrested based on nothing more than how you look?