Tampa, Fla., police to phase out facial recognition software

The Tampa Police Department will not renew its facial recognition software contract with Identix Inc., the department announced this week.

The Tampa police deployed Visionics Corp.'s FaceIT software in July 2001 via 36 security cameras stationed at strategic locations throughout Ybor City. The initial contract was valued at $30,000.

Visionics Corp. of Jersey City, and Identix merged in 2002, opting for the Identix name.

While the software proved reliable in testing, the Tampa police said they were unable to make any positive identifications or arrests as a result of its use.

The American Civil Liberties Union vigorously opposed its deployment from the outset, arguing that the system was prone to false matches and that it had never positively identified any missing or wanted people whose images were in the department's databases.

Identix is a provider of information technology, engineering and management consulting services for government. The company has more than 381 employees and had annual sales of $92.5 million in 2003, according to Hoover's Online of Austin, Texas.

About the Author

William Welsh is a freelance writer covering IT and defense technology.

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