Tlaib Calls For Banning Facial Recognition After Detroit Police Chief Calls Her Earlier Comments Racist

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D, Mich.) doubled down on her uninformed and controversial statements about facial recognition technology (FRT). We discussed Tlaib’s earlier call for the Detroit Police Chief to hire only African Americans to use FRT. That bizarre call was denounced as racist by Detroit Police Chief James Craig, who is black, and said that he would not adopt a race-based hiring program for FRT. Now, Tlaib has written an oped going further and demanding a ban on the use of FRT. In her  op-ed in The Detroit News, Tlaib denounced FRT as “racist technology.”

 I recently spoke to the federal biometric conference in Tampa and have two academic works to be published on FRT and privacy protections. Those pieces address the suggestion of racist discrimination errors in FRT.

As noted earlier, the comments reflected a fundamental misunderstanding of FRT. The point of FRT is that the algorithms makes the identification. Training concerns issues like lighting, framing, and operation. It is a contraction of terms to have the operator make the identification. The error rate found by a MIT study is discussed in my forthcoming study on privacy and biometrics. It is important for the industry to remain focused on this issue to continue to address any racial error rates. However, great strides have occurred in the technology.

Rather than correct her earlier comments, Tlaib has magnified her error with this proposal based on a flawed understanding of the current technology and realities of FRT.

35 thoughts on “Tlaib Calls For Banning Facial Recognition After Detroit Police Chief Calls Her Earlier Comments Racist”

  1. Tlaib, by her favorite term for the President (motherf-cker), and her squad-mate Rep. Omar by her marital history, seem to have collective expertise in one area – incest.

  2. OT:

    “Carrying a Toy Gun in City Limits”

    “The juvenile student was charged with Carrying a Toy Gun in City Limits (City Code 8-7-3 (B))…”

    While I understand the concern in this particular case, I had no idea that “carrying a toy gun in city limits” is illegal in some jurisdictions. Even squirt guns?

    This, a while back, at the same school.

    “Update: Suspicious package…identified as college guides”

    Afraid of our shadows?

  3. For all your home police state needs! Amazon is there for you!! “Owners of the company’s products should understand that, if you own any device equipped with Amazon’s Alexa – or “NSAlexa” – digital assistant, the e-commerce giant likely has access to some of your most private, intimate moments.

    Earlier this year, the company was exposed for allowing thousands of employees to listen in on the private conversations of Echo speaker owners. Amazon’s Alexa digital assistant is no better than a spy monitoring and recording users’ conversations and reporting back to a team of dedicated handlers tasked with “improving” the product.”

    1. “Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.” ~1984

    2. Audio and video in private homes and motel/hotel rooms. It’s already happening. You’d never know…, if you didn’t know.

      And just because there aren’t any signs of “forced entry,” doesn’t mean that you haven’t had visitors.

      Security systems and cameras? Easily disabled/compromised.

      It’s an Orwellian world…

  4. Since whe isn’t a real Representative having failed to complete the fourth Constitutional requirement this non representative and who ever weasel wormed her into a seat plust of course the rest of The Squat have no opinion worth squat.

  5. This technology is easily weaponized…as is much of the tech industry data collection etc. It’s perfectly understandable to me that vulnerable populations would doubt your over-intellectualized perspective.

  6. Ben Franklin, 1787, we gave you “…a republic, if you can keep it.”

    Ben Franklin, 2019, we gave you “…a republic, if you can take it back.”

  7. Technology is RACIST! Facts are racist too. In fact, anything that tends to show that precious minorities may have a tendency to engage in criminal activity or other dysfunctional behavior is racist and should be suppressed as “hate speech” We know that sans discrimination, all groups would commit crimes in proportion to their numbers in the population. And if you disagree, you are a racist, sexist, homophobic Nazi hater who cannot tolerate anyone who is different.

    Did I miss anything important here?


  8. Tlaib: So you refuse my demand for racist hiring practices? Then cancel the entire project!!!

    Cancel Culture.

  9. JT, As others such as Squeeky and Prairie Rose point out, FRT is Orwellian. If you want to live in a police state, train some cameras on your house, put in the Alexa and you’re done!

    Many of the rest of us do not want to live in a police state. Why do you trust this (or any other) government so readily? Did you read that the FISA court ruled the FBI has been illegally surveiling American citizens? Even though that ruling was made last year, we the people were just now allowed to learn of that ruling. And this is the govt. you trust? (I’ll give the link to that info below.) The corporate/government amalgam is not abiding by the Constitution and FRT is one more way the powerful violate our rights at will.

    Did you further know that so called machine algorithms aren’t really created by machines first? The first steps are done programmers, then the work is given over to low paid, mostly overseas cheap labor. The initial screening and programming is done by humans. Even if you want to think that FRT is only the work of machine algorithms–Machine Algorithms which violate our Constitution are still a violation of our Constitution.

    FRT sweeps up absolutely everyone. You must know that the NSA already has all our electronic communications, as does its partner corporations. Do you really think they mean us well? I don’t. Even if you believe this is a benign, helpful practice, the real truth is FRT violates our rights.

    Here is the article on the FBI and FISA court ruling:

  10. There are certain facts that emerge from studies of races. The x-ray technician must use more power for the same penetration of black skulls. They have thicker skulls which must be accounted for for a good x-ray.
    There are racial differences. This is just a fact, not racism.

    The first step in facial recognition by a program is: which areas of this image are a face at all. Inclusion of the entire range of human skin colors must be accounted for in this step.

    Generate a set of numbers based on measurements which distinguish one face from another similar one. That is the computer’s “face” — a set of numbers.

    There will be a correlation between medium-to-dark skin tone and African features. Blacks should be treated differently regarding certain heart-related medical conditions in addition to x-rays.

    Sorry, racism in facial recognition is simple nonsense.

    (former Army X-ray technician 6 yrs, and former systems analyst (360/70) 22 years, retired professor of Computer Science 12 years.)

    1. anybody who is a fan of boxing or who has boxed or the equivalent MMA, knows black guys have thicker skulls. this is indisputable. as well known as the fact they have more fast twitch muscle etc.

      races do exist contrary to what social engineers often say. they lie.

      just because races can mix, or there are people of indistinct race, does not “Refute” anything.

      its like saying just because there are foothills, there are no mountains nor plains

      these are just generalizations of human groups, there is nothing inherently “bad” about making conceptual generalizations

  11. Facial recognition technology is a problem. Big Brother does not have to be overtly thuggish to be totalitarian. We built the cage around ourselves and willingly put our leashes in our pockets.

    She is still a racist ideologue. People voted for her…

    1. Chinese communist controlled companies (alibaba and others) are racing Facebook and the likes for supremacy in facial recognition. Big brother will certainly not be leaving these tools undeveloped.

      While we are all easily scared of Chicom totalitarianism, we should not trust the would by private tyrants and overlords in Silicon Valley. Our society has a pervasive private totalitarianism fueled by Big Tech Companies that want to “monetize” our every feature.

  12. Meanwhile, over on the “dark web”. . .
    Tech behemoth and Big Brother is Watching purveyor Google—through a third party company—dispatched workers to blackety-black events like the 2019 BET Awards in Los Angeles to get darker-skinned faces for a facial recognition database, but often used skeevy and immoral tactics to do so, according to an explosive report by the New York Daily News.

    Now, on the face of it (ha), Google opening up its facial recognition technology—which in general struggles to correctly identify black faces at rates five to 10 times the rate of whites—to black people is a good thing. In the past, the company has faced criticism for its image labeling technology, which mistook black faces for gorillas in image searches (a problem, Google reportedly never fixed, but instead just removed gorillas from its labeling technology.) In general, there needs to be more of a black presence on the back-end so that soap dispensers won’t be labeled racist.

    In this case, the company “paid to have hired temps go out to collect face scans from a variety of people on the street using $5 gift cards as incentive,” reports the News. The goal allegedly was to have a diverse sample to “build fairness into Pixel 4’s face unlock feature,” according to a company spokesperson.

    In order to do so, according to two sources, the company’s teams “were dispatched to target homeless people in Atlanta, unsuspecting students on college campuses around the U.S. and attendees of the BET Awards festivities in Los Angeles, among other places.” The homeless were further incentivized by being told that the gift cards could be exchanged for cash.

    Moreover, volunteers were trained or instructed not to tell people what their faces were being used for, or to change the subject or even abort the mission when asked questions.

    There is more at the link!

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

    1. Big Brother really is watching. I have all my cameras turned away from me, although I think the TV in the living room is scanning my wife. It is kind of fun when my Google Assistant and Alexa Go start talking to each other. 😉

          1. Yeah, some dude out here in Cali did some extensive research into what it was recording, the Alexa, all sorts of weird stuff when no one was interacting with it or giving it commands.

            Recording tv in background, phone conversations, ppl convos.

            Always listening….

            1. Wally World – Alexa is always picking up on my phone conversations. I have several in the house so they all have to be named differently. The one in my office is named Amazon. You can just imagine how often it kicks off when I am watching YouTube and someone is complaining about Amazon. 🙂

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