False Facial Recognition Places Wrong Man In Jail

A Georgia man was wrongfully arrested after facial recognition technology tagged him as a fugitive in a state he had never visited.

Randall Reid, a 28-year-old Georgia native, was in jail for six days for allegedly stealing luxury purses from a consignment shop in the New Orleans suburb of Jefferson Parish.

Authorities believed Reid was the man behind the theft of over $10,000 worth of Chanel and Louis Vuitton handbags that occurred in June of last summer — a belief that stemmed from flawed facial recognition.

Reid was released on Dec. 1 from the DeKalb County jail after differences were noted in his physical appearance, which included a mole on Reid’s face, his height, and his weight.

“They told me I had a warrant out of Jefferson Parish. I said, ‘What is Jefferson Parish?‘” Reid told NOLA.com. “I have never been to Louisiana a day in my life. Then they told me it was for theft. So not only have I not been to Louisiana, I also don’t steal.”

The Georgia resident was on his way to his mother’s house for Thanksgiving on Nov. 25 when he was pulled over and placed in jail for six days.

Reid told the news outlet NOLA that he feared he would lose his job. “Not eating, not sleeping. I’m thinking about these charges. Not doing anything because I don’t know what’s really going on the whole time,” he said. “They didn’t even try to make the right ID.”

The arrest is one of many examples of the inherent flaws of facial recognition technology that have landed numerous innocent citizens in undeserved imprisonment. The technology is notoriously bad at identifying black faces.

But regardless of its flaws and under the guise of public safety, the government has big plans for the “big brother” technology in the future.

In China, facial recognition is much more widely used to surveil and fine its citizens on “violations” as simple as jaywalking.

In America, we are already at the scary point of mass surveillance — it’s just that most Americans don’t realize it yet.