Tampa Eliminates Face-Recognition System
Tampa Police Eliminate Controversial Facial-Recognition System, Citing Two-Year Failure
The Associated Press
TAMPA, Fla. Aug. 20 — Tampa police have scrapped their controversial security camera system that scanned city streets for criminals, citing its failure over two years to recognize anyone wanted by authorities.
The system was intended to recognize the facial characteristics of felons, sexual predators and runaway children by matching passers-by in Ybor City with a database of 30,000 mug shots.
"It's just proven not to have any benefit to us," Capt. Bob Guidara, a department spokesman, said Tuesday. The cameras have led only to arrests for such crimes as drug deals.
Tampa was the first city in the United States to install the permanent camera surveillance system along public streets and the technology was used during the 2001 Super Bowl.
Critics welcomed the end of the program.
"It's a relief," said Darlene Williams, chairwoman of the Greater Tampa Chapter of the ACLU. "Any time you have this sort of technology on public streets, you are subjecting people who come to Ybor to an electronic police lineup, without any kind of probable cause."