Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Face-Scans To Be Implemented By 2023, Apple Sued For $1 Billion Due To Mistaken Facial Recognition

DHS To Face-Scan 97% Of International Travelers Within Four Years

The Department of Homeland Security says that facial recognition technology will be used on 97% of passengers departing the US by 2023, according to The Verge

Already deployed in seventeen international airports, including Atlanta, New York City, Boston, San Jose, Chicago, and two airports in Houston, DHS systems will photograph and scan passengers at their departure gate, cross-referencing their face against a library of face images from visa and passport applications, as well as those taken by border agents when foreigners enter the country. 

The aim of the system is to offer “Biometric Exit,” which gives authorities as good an idea of who’s leaving the country as who’s entering it, and allows them to identify people who have overstayed their visas. Quartz notes that US authorities have traditionally relied on airline flight manifests to track who’s leaving the country. -The Verge

Last week, JetBlue customer MacKenzie Fegan was shocked after finding out that her face had been scanned in order for her to board the plane. "I just boarded an international @JetBlue flight. Instead of scanning my boarding pass or handing over my passport, I looked into a camera before being allowed down the jet bridge," she tweeted. "Did facial recognition replace boarding passes, unbeknownst to me? Did I consent to this?"
JetBlue wrote back:
When asked how they knew it was her, JetBlue said that the information was provided by DHS "from existing holdings," and later clarified "these photos aren't provided to us, but are securely transmitted to the Customs and Border Protection database. JetBlue does not have direct access to the photos and doesn’t store them." 

As we noted in March, the biometric systems are being implemented "despite questionable biometric confirmation rates and few, if any, legal guardrails."
What's more, there are no limits to how airlines can use facial recognition data
These same documents state — explicitly — that there were no limits on how partnering airlines can use this facial recognition data. CBP did not answer specific questions about whether there are any guidelines for how other technology companies involved in processing the data can potentially also use it. It was only during a data privacy meeting last December that CBP made a sharp turn and limited participating companies from using this data. But it is unclear to what extent it has enforced this new rule. CBP did not explain what its current policies around data sharing of biometric information with participating companies and third-party firms are, but it did say that the agency “retains photos … for up to 14 days” of non-US citizens departing the country, for “evaluation of the technology” and “assurance of the accuracy of the algorithms” — which implies such photos might be used for further training of its facial matching AI. -BuzzFeed
Meanwhile, it appears that CBP has simply skipped part of the "rulemaking process" - foregoing public feedback prior to implementing the technology. Beyond "privacy, surveillance and free speech implications," this is worrisome according to BuzzFeed, which notes that last summer the ACLU reported that Amazon's facial recognition technology falsely matched 28 members of congress with arrest mugshots. 
According to a Homeland Security OIG reportCBP was able to provide biometric confirmation for just 85% of passengers processed, while mexican and Canadian citizens were "particularly problematic" reports BuzzFeed
"The low 85-percent biometric confirmation rate poses questions as to whether CBP will meet its milestone to confirm all foreign departures at the top 20 US airports by fiscal year 2021," said the audit - while a spokesperson said that the rate has risen to 98.6% since the report. 

An 18-year-old New Yorker is suing Apple for $1 billion, claiming he was falsely arrested and charged for a series of thefts that he did not commit due to facial recognition software that Apple allegedly uses to track theft. Ousmane Bah was arrested at his home in New York in November and was charged with stealing from Apple stores in Manhattan, Boston, Delaware and New Jersey. However, the photo that accompanied the arrest warrant showed somebody that "looked nothing like" the student, according to the Daily Mail.
Not only that, one of the thefts had occurred on the same day that Bah was attending his senior prom. He was in Manhattan for the event while one of the thefts occurred in Boston. So now, he is suing Apple for the hassle he has suffered as a result... which in his opinion is worth a solid one billion dollars.
Bah believes that a learners permit that he lost, containing his name, address and other personal information, was used for identification at Apple stores during the thefts. The thief was caught stealing $1200 worth of products from Apple in Boston on May 31, 2018. The same thief then stole from Apple stores in Manhattan, New Jersey and Delaware, while at the same time allegedly being tracked by Apple software.

Bah said he learned about the thefts the hard way: when a Boston municipal court summons arrived at his door in June. He was then arrested by the New York Police Department on November 29. 
When the New York Police Department Detective who was assigned to the case examined surveillance footage from the Manhattan Apple Store, they found that the suspect "looked nothing like" Bah. Instead, the detective found that Apple's (highly flawed) security technology had been using facial recognition to try and identify suspected thieves. 
The investigator suspected that the thief had presented Bah's learners permit during one of the multiple thefts. Bah then was forced to respond to all of the false allegations which led to 'severe stress and hardship' and left him 'feeling humiliated, afraid, and deeply concerned'.  In his lawsuit, he claims:
'[Apple's] use of facial recognition software in its stores to track individuals suspected of theft is the type of Orwellian surveillance that consumes fear, particularly as it can be assumed that the majority of consumers are not aware that their faces are secretly being analyzed.' 
While the charges in most states have been dropped against him, the ones in New Jersey are still pending. Apple has claimed it "does not use facial recognition technology in its stores."

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