Facial recognition software is a powerful tool to help cops do their job — don’t ban it

Using software to scan Facebook photos is not a major privacy issue. If technology can keep us safe, it should be used.

SHARE Facial recognition software is a powerful tool to help cops do their job — don’t ban it
Facial recognition software.

Facial recognition software.

Stock.adobe.com photo illustration

Of all the ways that our data and likeness are being captured, the Chicago Police Department’s use of facial recognition software, which scans photos from Facebook, is probably one of the least intrusive to our privacy.

Facebook is a voluntary platform intended for sharing, and most of the photos are posted by the users themselves. In my opinion, this is not a major privacy issue. We surrender some of our privacy just by using social media. Furthermore, Facebook has privacy settings to establish a personal level of privacy. If you don’t want CPD to use your photos, you can adjust your settings.

When considering privacy, we have to weigh the benefits with the risks. If the CPD is using the software to help them do their job quicker and better, why should we stop them?

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Last week, my son lost his wallet while shopping. Whoever found it turned it in with most of its contents except his debit card, which somebody had used at several fast food and retail outlets. I’m sure the store where he lost his wallet had security cameras, and the police theoretically could have used facial recognition software to solve the crime.

Security cameras of the future will be able to identify specific features of an individual and track that individual’s movements. This could help us locate persons of interest in crimes or terrorist groups. As long as technology is used ethically, its use should be welcomed.

We are living in a new post-9/11 reality. If technology can keep us safe, it should be used.

Abul Azad, PhD, associate dean and professor of engineering technology
Northern Illinois University

Stopping drunk drivers is worth police overtime

Iread the article about Joe Ferguson’s concerns about Chicago police overtime not being managed as effectively as the inspector general’s office wanted, but I was taken aback by the end of the article.

One of the categories that Ferguson referenced was an officer who made 50-plus DUI arrests and was paid a large of amount of overtime as a result. Is he kidding?Does he want the police to allow drunk drivers to roam the streets freely because DUI arrests will result in overtime?Get real.DUI arrests are laborious due to state law requirements, and they involve the officer attending court on a regular basis for evidence hearings and trials.The courts and the state’s attorney determine if and when an officer is needed in court. Not CPD, not the IG.

I for one, especially because I am a retired police officer, will gladly excuse any overtime paid to an officer who regularly removes drunk drivers from the street and saves lives.

You can’t put a dollar amount on that.

Robert Stasch, O’Hare

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