Michigan Family Concerning Legal Action After Skating Rink’s Facial Recognition Systems Misidentifies Black Teen Wrongfully Accused of Partaking In A Fight

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A Michigan couple is considering legal action after their teen daughter was banned from a local skating rink. This comes after being misidentified by facial recognition software.

Juliea and her husband Derrick Robinson are outraged calling the incident “basically racial profiling” after the Riverside Arena skating rink in the Detroit suburb of Livonia, Michigan banned their daughter 14-year-old Lamya Robinson from the establishment after she was mistaken for another person who took part in a fight in March 2020.

The family say their daughter couldn’t have been a part of the brawl because she never been to the rink until she found out she was barred on July 10 when her mother dropped her off to hang out with some friends. According to Fox 2, the employees decided to have Lamya, removed based on their facial recognition software. “To me, it’s basically racial profiling,” Juliea said. “You’re just saying every young Black, brown girl with glasses fits the profile, and that’s not right.” Lamya says she was “confused.”

The family believe the situation was mishandled. “You all put my daughter out of the establishment by herself, not knowing what could have happened,” Lamya’s father explained. “It just happened to be a blessing that she was calling in frustration to talk to her cousin, but at the same time he pretty much said I’m not that far, let me go see what’s wrong with her.”

Outcry over the use of the controversial face-recognition technology has been increasing. Critics have even said it will be used to harm and target Black and brown communities.

The ACLU reported that research done by Black scholars Joy Buolamwini, Deb Raji, and Timnit Gebru concluded that some facial analysis algorithms misclassified Black women nearly 35 percent of the time.

The rink released a statement told Fox 2, “One of our managers asked Ms. Robinson (Lamya’s mother) to call back sometime during the week. He explained to her, this our usual process, as sometimes the line is quite long and it’s a hard look into things when the system is running. The software had her daughter at a 97 percent match. This is what we looked at, not the thumbnail photos Ms. Robinson took a picture of, if there was a mistake, we apologize for that.”

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