Tampa drops facial recognition

The Tampa, Fla., Police Department will not renew its facial recognition software contract with Identix Inc.

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

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.

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