The United States Justice Department recently revealed that in June of 2020, a facial recognition system in Austria helped track down and capture a fugitive who had been on the run for nearly 15 years.
According to a report by The Verge, Randy Levine, 54, of Boca Raton, Florida had been on the run since 2005, following the seizure of his passport by U.S. authorities. Levine — who was originally wanted for running a gambling scam that saw him swindle hundreds of thousands of dollars from his victims — had managed to escape to Poland, where he was able to evade arrest for three years before being nabbed by authorities.
A prolonged extradition battle in the Polish courts meant he was able to slip away once again in 2011, only resurfacing briefly in Guatemala some time later.
A much-needed breakthrough in the hunt for Levine came in May of last year, when Austrian authorities notified the FBI that a person matching his description was spotted by a facial recognition system while attempting to open a bank account using a Mexican passport.
Though biometric authentication was enough to lead to the arrest and extradition of Levine to the U.S. the following month, it is still a controversial technology in America and abroad. In recent years, government authorities across the country have been taking steps to curb the technology’s use by both law enforcement agencies and private companies.
In Illinois, the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) has been used to hold some of the largest corporations in the world accountable for the use of facial recognition tech without the express written consent of individual subjects. In fact, it has been so successful that U.S. senators Bernie Sanders and Jeff Merkley have proposed the establishment of a nationwide version of the act.
In addition to the legal spotlight placed on facial recognition, a 2019 NIST study revealed that some of the most popular facial recognition systems exhibit a pronounced bias against people of color (especially women), which could lead to false positive identification in some cases.
Source: The Verge
August 25, 2021- by Tony Bitzionis