SPECIAL COMMUNITY CONTRIBUTION by NICHO HERRERA

Could facial recognition technology have a future in Miami Springs? With the roll out of traffic cameras, speed-o-meters, and body cameras within the city over the past couple years, could facial recognition be a burgeoning option? In China and Russia large cities have begun to implement this controversial technology to maintain order and catch criminals. The depths of this technology are quite intimidating; collecting data on a person’s whereabouts, how long they stay at certain locations, and even their legal status in a country. Certain American idealists with strong sense of individuality may be against the option due to privacy concerns and the possible sense of subordination surveillance might give us. In terms of preventing terrible crimes, is this lack of public privacy expendable?

Camera at the Miami Springs Gazebo
Photo by Nicho Herrera

 

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In a quote from an interview with Elle Reeves from VICE News and a Chinese tech firm “Megvii”, it was stated that over 3,000 people were apprehended within one year of rolling out this technology, which uses criminal databases for some of its profiling. This is a significant number of arrests and probably greatly reduces incidence of crime in certain areas. Though Miami Springs is not so large, or so dense, the common worry comes mostly from some of our resident’s transient nature. With Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center now within city limits, the stress of properly policing our city has continued to be a worry amongst residents. The growth of the 36th St. corridor with hotels and motels has also given added worry to the mix. Though this is seen as a wonderful progression in infrastructure for the city, are there better ways we can protect and harbor this investment on our town? After the recent robbery on 36th ST. near the Days Inn where a pizza delivery driver was shot at, or the constant string of break ins that occur at the IHOP, or now the worries of a population of homeless inhabitants at the Red Roof Inn does facial recognition stand a new chance with residents?

Camera at Miami Springs Police Station
Camera at Miami Springs Police Station photo by Nicho Herrera

A long standing worry that comes with facial recognition technology is that it can be used for some mistreatment. Some of these can include pursuing small misdemeanor charges like jay walking and littering to a degree that is unreasonable and tyrannous. Another could be the breach of this data by parties interested in exploiting geo-tracing and human profiles. Also, could these systems have the chance of wrongfully identifying individuals and placing them at scenes of crime causing undue arrests? With these said, I shouldn’t have to go into much detail about the worries of over policing with this new added technology. I believe all Americans have a responsibility to regulate and fight any policing injustices they see in their communities. Luckily, here in Miami Springs we have a wonderful police force that has been very responsive to its citizens.

Photo by Nicho Herrera

Now does Miami Springs have the means, capabilities, or even needs for this system? That ultimately is a question for the people to answer, I believe this community is close enough to jointly protect ourselves and decide if this is a good option. It is important to understand as well that this is the future and is already being implemented. How fast, or how slow, would we like to follow the course of history and maybe change our city for the better is a decision we should start to think about now. With continuing trade wars and an unsettling look at technological competition looming with the other countries, can the United States spare this lack of digital infrastructure? I beg the question.

– Community Contribution by Nicho Herrera of Miami Springs, Florida

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