Deputies have a new tool: Facial recognition software | News
PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Members of the Cumberland County Sheriff's Department have a new tool in their technological toolbelt: facial recognition software, accessible by smart phone.
According to Cumberland County Sheriff Kevin Joyce, his department is the first law enforcement agency to use the new software.
Members of the department will be able to take a person's picture with a smart phone or digital camera and run it through the jail's database of booking photos.
If the software finds matches, it will email back results and inmate information.
The software ignores qualities such as gender and race, and instead focuses on facial recognition.
Members of the ACLU of Maine said the software is too unreliable, and could lead to an invasion of privacy.
"That could create false positives, an innocent citizen could be wrongly identified as a suspect, and potentially detained," said the Executive Director of the ACLU of Maine Shenna Bellows, "and that raises significant civil liberties concerns."
Bellows said facial recognition technology has a 40 percent error rate, but the company that manufactured the software disputed that statistic.
According to a spokesperson from Dynamic Imaging, the facial recognition software works "most of the time."
The company could not provide a rate of error, but pointed to the following documents as proof of the software's reliability:
Sheriff Joyce said the technology will be used judiciously.
"A lot of talk has been you know we're going to stop a car, snap a picture of somebody and check our database. The reality is, we don't have time for that," the Sheriff said.
"This is for the more bigger crimes, the crimes where we want to try and solve the crime as fast as possible."
He said the software will help in cases where video surveillance captures images of unidentified suspects, or when unidentified bodies are found.
The new software also includes fingerprinting technology, and cost the Cumberland County Sheriff's Department $35,000.