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Detroit demonstrators calling for city to cease use of facial recognition technology

Posted at 4:37 AM, Jun 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-16 05:32:40-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — Calls to end facial recognition in Detroit continue to grow louder.

Critics of the controversial technology say it's racially biased and often inaccurate in identifying people of color.

A vote on a contract extension for that software, first bought in 2017 for $1 million, is now off the Detroit City Council's agenda.

Last week, protesters gave Mayor Mike Duggan a list of 23 demands, which includes ditching Project Green Light, a series of live cameras police use to monitor crime and can be used for facial recognition.

"Instead of buying stingray technology, or spending millions of dollars on facial recognition, put that money toward schools or public housing," protest organizer Tristan Taylor said.

The Detroit Police Department has defended its use of facial recognition, saying it's not used as a sole identifier, but its critics point to evidence that it's not always accurate, especially when surveying people of color.

It is unclear why the contract extension vote was taken off the agenda.

The Detroit City Council will be meeting at 10 a.m. Tuesday. Taylor is encouraging protesters to join the Zoom meeting and make their voices heard.