San Diego Police say facial recognition technology allegations from NY Times are false

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – The San Diego Police Department is facing some backlash over an article written in the New York Times Thursday about its facial recognition software.

But police say the article has several errors.

The New York Times article said San Diego Police are using the technology without any clear guidelines.

Several officers are equipped with this technology during arrests and use an iPad to take a picture of the suspect instead of the old process of fingerprinting.

The department said it only uses it for identification purposes, but the NY Times article claims that officers in the department might be storing your information, even if there is no criminal history.

"We use the picture that we take and match it up with existing booking photos from the sheriff's department. There's no other database, as the NY Times claimed we had a vast database that we're building. That's completely incorrect. We use existing booking photos only. If you've never been arrested in San Diego county, then you're not going to show up in the facial recognition database," said Lt. Scott Wahl of the San Diego Police Department.

Lieutenant Wahl also said all 89 officers who are using this technology have been properly trained and so far have received no complaints about this technology, until this article. 

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