The ACLU has filed a complaint against Detroit police for wrongfully arresting a man based on a faulty facial recognition match, the first known case in the U.S. Robert Julian-Borchak Williams, who is Black, was detained for a day in January after Rank One's face recognition service falsely matched him to a shoplifter.
- The ACLU has asked Detroit police to stop using facial recognition, calling the technology "flawed."
- Rank One's software matched Williams' driver's license photo to a surveillance video of a shoplifter, who stole five watches from a Shinola store in 2018.
- When shown an image of the shoplifter, Williams told the police, “You think all Black men look alike?” A video shows that officers released Williams after acknowledging that “the computer” must have been wrong.
- Police and Rank One have yet to comment on the complaint. In a 2019 blog post, Rank One cited research corroborating the accuracy of facial recognition systems and referred to the concerns as misconceptions.
- Earlier this month, Amazon announced a one-year moratorium on police use of facial recognition, Microsoft indefinitely halted police use until there's more federal regulation, and IBM announced a permanent end to offering, developing, or researching general-purpose facial recognition tech.