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The New York Civil Liberties UnionĀ filed an Article 78 proceeding against the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) and Anthony J. Annucci, in his official capacity as Acting Commissioner of the agency, to obtain records related to the use of facial recognition technology requested by the NYCLU under the state Freedom of Information Law (FOIL.) This comes after months of obstruction following NYCLU’s initial FOIL filing in September 2020.

The NYCLU has received queries relating to denial of visitation rights to the relatives of people held in DOCCS’ custody based on the utilization of face recognition technology to screen visitors. However, DOCCS has no publicly available information about the utilization of face recognition technology. Numerous studies have demonstrated fundamental flaws in the technology’s ability to accurately identify people of color, women, and young people. Due to gross disparities in incarceration rates for Black and Latinx people, it is likely that the family, friends, and loved ones who visit people under DOCCS’ custody will be disproportionately people of color and will inevitably be at greater risk for misidentification by DOCCS’ face recognition system.

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