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Third Known Arrest From Faulty Facial Recognition with Nijeer Parks

The New York Times recently published an article sharing the story of Nijeer Parks, who was falsely accused of shoplifting and trying to hit an officer with a car by a faulty facial recognition match. Find the article here.

Mr. Parks’ case marks the third of its kind, in which a Black man was falsely identified by facial recognition software and then arrested. The two other known victims of faulty facial recognition software include Robert Williams and Michael Oliver, who “were also arrested for crimes they did not commit,” according to the article.

The actual shoplifter was caught with a fake driver’s license in Woodbridge, New Jersey — the photo on which was sent to state agencies with access to facial recognition software. The technology identified Mr. Parks, who lived 30 miles away in Paterson (and was in Paterson during the time of the incident as proved by a pharmacy bill), and a detective decided that Mr. Parks’ ID appeared the same as the photo in the fake license, despite them being two separate people.

In response to a New York Times article about Clearview AI (which was initially suspected to be the software used to falsely identify Mr. Parks but later absolved), Gurbir S. Grewal, the attorney general of New Jersey, banned police use of Clearview and announced an investigation into the product and other similar products. It was also announced that a policy governing the use of facial recognition software at large in New Jersey was being developed. 

Mr. Parks was held in jail for 10 days after his arrest and “is now suing the police, the prosecutor, and the City of Woodbridge for false arrest, false imprisonment, and violation of his civil rights.

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