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COMMITTED TO PROTECTING YOU

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You might stand out in a crowd: Do you want to?

| Nov 24, 2020 | Criminal Defense

Colorado residents likely span a wide gamut when it comes to their reactions regarding personal snapshots taken of them that ultimately command broad attention.

Stories sometimes feature that spotlight previously low-profile individuals suddenly emerging into public light because of a chance image seen by millions. Careers are made. Fame is a new reality.

That’s not such a bad outcome, is it?

Consider, though, that close scrutiny of your face by a select audience does not always link to upsides and a decidedly positive result.

Especially when the pool of observers perusing your image comprises police officers and varied criminal investigators. You might want to remain squarely out of view to those people. A high-tech facial-recognition tool will ensure that the continued anonymity you seek disappears in an instant.

The evolution of biometric analysis in police probes

Concededly, the term “biometric analysis” is neither commonly employed by nor instantly familiar to many people.

It will be, though, with its implications likely to be material for most Americans and even life-changing for some. A quick take on biometric analysis notes that it is a subset in the explosively evolving realm of computer-driven artificial intelligence technology. So-called “AI” platforms and processes are widely used by police agencies across the country, including in Colorado. Some representative examples of AI assists include this technology:

  • Speech recognition
  • GPS location tracking
  • Real-time video and audio analysis
  • Crime pattern forecasting

Criminal authorities routinely laud the ever-growing treasure trove of new tech tools that help them investigate alleged criminal activity in a way that was flatly unimaginable even a short time ago.

The benefits are frequently sighted and eminently clear. So too, though, are material downsides linked with the threatened curtailment of privacy rights and other prerogatives held precious by Americans.

The threat is especially apparent with police employment of the aforementioned image-capturing technology. A recent in-depth American Bar Association article underscores manifest concerns tied to the widespread use of facial recognition tools that scan the general public.

ABA clarion call re facial-recognition tech: Get a warrant.

The ABA piece notes that the “surveillance society” is firmly upon us, with images of millions of Americans already residing in police websites and databases that are available for easy scanning.

The national law journal points to this deeply concerning problem linked to that: Investigators can target and zero in on a specific person in a crowd without having any particularized and reasonable grounds (i.e., no probable cause) to suspect that individual of criminal activity.

That ability to do so arguably makes sheer mockery of the inviolable protections against authoritarian enforcement stated in the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment. The ABA states that it fundamentally “threatens our civil rights” and must be stridently objected to.

The prescription to right the wrong is both clear and simple, states the bar association.

It is this: Make a police agency uniformly secure a warrant as a prerequisite to its intrusion on an individual’s privacy.

That mandate doesn’t just safeguard the rights of wrongdoers. It recognizes and promotes the cherished liberty interests of all Americans.

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