Nonwhite areas in New York City subject to greater surveillance: Amnesty International

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New York neighborhoods in the boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx that are mostly made up of nonwhite residents are subject to greater surveillance than white neighborhoods, according to an Amnesty International report released Tuesday.

Digital volunteers found more than 25,500 CCTV cameras across New York City which are allegedly facial recognition-compatible.

“The shocking reach of facial recognition technology in the city leaves entire neighbourhoods exposed to mass surveillance,” said Amnesty International artificial intelligence and human rights researcher Matt Mahmoudi.

Research shows that the higher the proportion of nonwhite New Yorkers, the higher the concentration of CCTV cameras.

New York Police Department (NYPD) Deputy Commissioner John Miller told ABC News that city residents who are victims of violent crime are “overwhelmingly” nonwhite.

“They not only deserve but demand that police respond to reports of crime and apprehend those responsible,” Miller said.

Amnesty International, however, argued that the use of CCTV cameras with facial recognition compounds harm created by “stop-and-frisk” techniques used by the NYPD on people of color.

Amnesty sued the NYPD in 2021 after the department refused to disclose records revealing how it obtained facial recognition technology and other similar tools of surveillance.

The NYPD used facial recognition as evidence in around 22,000 cases from 2016 to 2019.

Amnesty International’s analysis was published as part of the Ban the Scan campaign, which protests the use of facial recognition cameras by police. 

“Banning facial recognition for mass surveillance is a much-needed first step towards dismantling racist policing,” Mahmoudi said. “And the New York City Council must now immediately move towards a comprehensive ban.”

Tags Amnesty International CCTV Closed-circuit television Crime prevention facial recognition Facial recognition system facial recognition technology Mass surveillance New York Police surveillance in New York City Security Surveillance Video surveillance

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