Cops Used DNA to Predict a Suspect’s Face—and Tried to Run Facial Recognition on It

January 22, 2024

Parabon NanoLabs ran the suspect’s DNA through its proprietary machine learning model. “I have a photo of the possible suspect and would like to use facial recognition technology to identify a suspect/lead.”The detective’s request to run a DNA-generated estimation of a suspect’s face through facial recognition tech has not previously been reported. For facial recognition experts and privacy advocates, the East Bay detective’s request, while dystopian, was also entirely predictable. Running facial recognition with unreliable inputs, like an algorithmically generated face, is more likely to misidentify a suspect than provide law enforcement with a useful lead, she argues. “It’s very dangerous, because it puts people at risk of being a suspect for a crime they didn’t commit.”