Florida city using live facial recognition technology to deter 3 trespassers

'This is not any sort of additional surveillance. This is the normal course of doing business. If you're behaving well, you should have no problems,' the director for the Lakeland Downtown Development Authority said ahead of the cameras being installed.

Florida city using live facial recognition technology to deter 3 trespassers
Remove Ads

Privacy advocates are raising concerns after a city in Florida installed security cameras equipped with live facial recognition technology in its downtown business area.

Officials in Lakeland, a city of 112,000 located between Tampa Bay and Orlando, announced the $115,000 plan in January. A total of 14 cameras are set to be installed by the end of April, all of which are located on private property and watch corners and alleyways. All of the cameras, minus one, feature 360-degree angles.

Lakeland Downtown Development Authority (LLDA) director Julie Townsend said local authorities had issue with three men, specifically, LkldNow reports.

“This is not any sort of additional surveillance. This is the normal course of doing business. If you're behaving well, you should have no problems,” Townsend said in January, as reported by Fox 13 Tampa Bay

In addition to Townsend, LLDA's board members and clean and safe manager, along with the Lakeland police, have access to all of the cameras. Individual business owners have the ability to view footage from the camera on their property. The footage is stored for 30 days, officials said.

“I was able to upload certain photos of people who are people of interest throughout the downtown, who have caused issues, and actually detect when those people are downtown on camera. I’ll receive emails those people are throughout the downtown area, so it’s been great,” said LLDA clean and safe manager Tony Davila.

But the technology's use of live facial recognition has privacy rights advocates concerned.

“This technology used this way to track and identify people in real time is really chilling in a free society,” said ACLU speech privacy and technology spokesperson Nate Freed Wessler, who described the situation as “a five alarm fire for privacy rights,” reported Biometric Update.

“You can use it in limited ways to investigate crimes after the fact, but you can't ever attach face recognition technology to a live network of video cameras. It's a red line that Lakeland has crossed here and they need to shut it down now,” added Wessler, per Fox13.

While similar technology has received pushback in the past, privacy concerns were apparently not raised during the development of Lakeland's security camera program.

Between 2019–2021, nearly 24 state or local governments had created legislation against facial recognition technology, noted Reuters in 2022. As the cost, availability and capabilities of facial recognition becomes more prominent, the U.S. could soon resemble the United Kingdom, where live facial recognition usage is more prevalent.

Remove Ads
Remove Ads

PETITION: Stop Digital ID

36,927 signatures
Goal: 50,000 Signatures

Add signature

Don't Get Censored

Big Tech is censoring us. Sign up so we can always stay in touch.

Remove Ads