Facial Recognition Technology is inherently racist and should not be put to use by Gardaí, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL)has warned.
In the wake of the Dublin riots, Justice Minister Helen McEntee received Cabinet approval for a Facial Recognition Technology Bill that would allow Gardaí to use FRT in certain circumstances.
Minister McEntee said the technology would save Gardaí hours of time they would otherwise spend scrolling through CCTV footage, whereas the ICCL believe it is fundamentally unreliable.
“Research has shown again and again that it has inherent age, gender and racial biases,” Senior Policy Officer Olga Cronin told Newstalk Breakfast.
“It does not work as well on people who are not middle aged white men.
“We’ve seen cases of misidentification and people being wrongfully incarcerated - especially in the US - all of whom are black people.”
Ms Cronin said the bill would give “excessive discretion” to An Garda Síochána and believes it is especially unreliable when used to identify people from video footage.
“It’s one thing when... you’re talking about comparing a mugshot against a mugshot where the lighting is perfect, the pixilation is perfect, the pose is perfect,” she said.
“What’s being proposed in this bill is the application of FRT to recorded footage.”
Ms Cronin said a “balance needs to be struck” between bringing cases to court and preventing miscarriages of justice.
“The Guards need to do their job and everyone accepts that,” she said.
“But limiting the use of FRT to, let’s say serious crimes, doesn’t mean we can avoid the principles of the European Charter of Fundamental Rights.
“They will continue to be applied by the Court of Justice of the European Union and the concern here is that the bill as it stands is not up to scratch in terms of that law.
“What’s actually at risk is good prosecutions.”
The Facial Recognition Technology Bill has yet to be brought before the Oireachtas.
Main image: An arrested woman stands with her hands in handcuffs.