The Justice Tech Download: 2018 wrap up, police surveillance acccountability, facial recognition

Forwarded from a friend? Sign up!


This year, we're trying something a little different: we want to share your work in our newsletter. If you have a new contribution to the world of criminal justice technology--research, op-ed, whitepaper, syllabus, data set, project etc.--send a summary (fewer than 50 words) with the appropriate hyperlinks to jason@justicecodes.org and we'll fit it into the newsletter.

But before we go all 2019, I wrote a wrap up of the top 10 law and technology stories of 2018. It's a mixed bag, but search and seizure, online mugshot extortion, and a death due to an autonomous vehicle are on the list. (ABA Journal)

Facial recognition technology used by police will continue to be an issue in 2019. At the end of last year, London's Metropolitan Police Service did a real world test of the technology for a week, (Tech Review) which led to a group called Big Brother Watch to crowdsource funds for a campaign to stop the police from using the technology. (Crowd Justice) Unfortunately for the police, a study showed that the false positive rate of the software was about 98 percent. (The Independent) Not just a robot problem, humans mistakenly identify people from mugshot searches often, even so the NYPD still uses the practice. (NYT)

Oversight and accountability of novel surveillance technologies will also be a theme we'll see in 2019. At the end of last year, Cambridge, Mass. joined a growing cadre of local governments requiring civilian oversight of the procurement and use of police surveillance tech. (EFF) On a separate front, the ACLU and Privacy International just sued 11 federal agencies over the network investigative technique, a form of remote hacking used by federal law enforcement in criminal investigations. (Ars)

In research news, there will be a randomized control trial in Tennessee of the holistic defense approach, where social workers are paired with defenders. (A2J Lab)