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MTA's Initial Foray Into Facial Recognition at High Speed Is a Bust

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Vehicles make their way over the East River on the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge into Queens, NY.

First attempts last year to record and identify the faces of drivers on the highway at the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge have failed, according to an internal Metropolitan Transportation Authority email.

Credit: Johannes EISELE/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

An internal email from New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) said the agency's pilot program to identify high-speed drivers traveling along the highway at the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge via facial-recognition technology is a failure.

The MTA lauded facial recognition's accuracy when it announced the pilot in July, but a November email from an MTA official disclosed that the "initial period for the proof of concept testing at the RFK for facial recognition...failed with no faces (0%) being detected within acceptable parameters."

While MTA chairman Joe Lhota said in July the deployment would be used to help the MTA catch scofflaws who attempt to avoid tolls by covering their license plates, authority spokesperson Maxwell Young recently said the technology is being used strictly for security.

Despite significant technical difficulties and privacy issues raised by the technology, the MTA said the pilot program will continue.

From The Wall Street Journal
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