When facial recognition does not ‘recognise’: erroneous identifications and resulting liabilities

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Facial recognition is an artificial intelligence-based technology that, like many other forms of artificial intelligence, suffers from an accuracy deficit. This paper focuses on one particular use of facial recognition, namely identification, both as authentication and as recognition. Despite technological advances, facial recognition technology can still produce erroneous identifications. This paper addresses algorithmic identification failures from an upstream perspective by identifying the main causes of misidentifications (in particular, the probabilistic character of this technology, its ‘black box’ nature and its algorithmic bias) and from a downstream perspective, highlighting the possible legal consequences of such failures in various scenarios (namely liability lawsuits). In addition to presenting the causes and effects of such errors, the paper also presents measures that can be deployed to reduce errors and avoid liabilities.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAI and Society
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023


  • Artificial intelligence
  • Biases
  • Facial recognition
  • Liability
  • Misidentification


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