Facial Recognition in the Criminal Justice System

This project looks at the impact of facial recognition software on racial equality.

Facial recognition technology is increasingly used in the criminal justice system. China and Australia are bringing in national facial recognition schemes, and some UK police forces currently use this technology. Research to date has focused on optimising algorithm performance, but has not addressed the central question of the public’s attitudes towards its use. In light of reports that algorithms are biased toward accuracy with white faces, people of different ethnicities may be disproportionately identified, and have different attitudes towards the technology. This project aims to link public attitudes with algorithm performance by building and testing a simple face recognition system trained with faces of limited and diverse ethnicity. The research team will address the pressing question of the impact of facial recognition systems on equality in the justice system.

Principal Investigator: Dr Kay Ritchie, University of Lincoln

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