By. John Wingo
In the past 5 years technology privacy has been the “greatest debater.” Recently Netflix released a docuseries following a team of lawyers who pushed for tech legislation regarding facial recognition titled “Coded Bias.” Facial recognition, (besides crypto currency) is one of the latest tech upsets.
Due to a lack of photos (commonly they are of people with darker skin tones) facial recognition has falsely led to wrongful accusations and imprisonment. There are nine companies that currently run facial recognition tech: six companies in the U.S and three in China.
Referenced in the Netflix film, facial recognition has been widely adopted in the UK, New York, Seattle, and other largely populated areas. Facial recognition is not unlawful however, due to the lack of legislation, facial recognition continues to be unlawfully operated by police departments using citizens’ information without proper consent or jurisdiction.
In the Netflix case study, facial recognition had over hundreds of thousands of photos to represent those with ethnic backgrounds with lighter skin. However, those of ethnic backgrounds of darker skin were under-represented with only ten photos. As stated in the documentary, “Tech will lead our laws, like the children of the future and of this very nation.”
On another note, Hill Harper, a guest speaker on the “Earn Your Leisure” podcast, revealed that the black dollar only circulates in the black community for 8 hours. Now due to digital currency he believes the black dollar has the potential to circulate only 8 seconds! With such a drastic claim Hill Harper’s comment doesn’t seem far-fetched at all.
Tech has led to many legislative laws such as, privacy law that was written then “adjusted” when Edward Snowden leaked tons of files onto Wikileaks. For Instance, in 2014 the “no texting while driving” law was passed. In another case, the sharing of nude photos/videos was declared illegal without permission. Online bullying was also declared to be against the law. Moreover, legislation was passed that filming or taking pictures of a minor that isn’t yours is illegal.
In any case, tech continues to lead laws placed in the hands of the coder. We must continue to educate ourselves in fields of studies that are widely underrepresented. Look out for my next series where I will discuss “outliers in tech.”