When there are protests, police are usually involved to try and maintain the peace. In some instances, protestors and the police get along and no one is really causing any trouble, but in other instances, things can get messy where the police do things that they shouldn’t be doing. Holding the police accountable to their actions would obviously be ideal.

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Unfortunately, in some cases, the police hide their badges which makes it harder to identify them, at least officially. However, it seems that activists are now getting smarter and are turning the tables on police by using facial recognition software to identify them. This is rather ironic when you consider the fact that these are essentially the same tools that police use to identify protestors with in the first place.

Speaking to The New York Times, self-taught programmer Christopher Howell who created his own program after he was tear-gassed during earlier this year said, “This was, you know, kind of a ‘shower thought’ moment for me, and just kind of an intersection of what I know how to do and what my current interests are. Accountability is important. We need to know who is doing what, so we can deal with it.”

Andrew Maximov, another developer added, “For a while now, everyone was aware the big guys could use this to identify and oppress the little guys, but we’re now approaching the technological threshold where the little guys can do it to the big guys. It’s not just the loss of anonymity. It’s the threat of infamy.”

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