Black Teen Barred From Skating Rink After Facial Recognition Camera Misidentified Her

A Black teenager's parents are considering taking legal action after she was barred from a skating rink because the venue's facial recognition technology misidentified her.

Juliea Robinson dropped off her daughter, Lamya Robinson, at the Riverside Arena in Livonia, Michigan, on Saturday to spend time with friends.

However, staff blocked the girl from entry after her face was scanned by facial recognition software and wrongly identified as someone who had been involved in an altercation at the rink in March.

The following day, Juliea Robinson shared a photo of the scan on her Facebook page and said she believed the incident was racial profiling.

"So, i had the worst experience with Riverside Skating Rink," she wrote in a post that has since been made private. "They scanned my daughters face and stated that she's banned per this picture below in the corner that is not my child!!"

Lamya Robinson told local TV station WJBK that she was confused by the results of the scan, because she had never been to the rink before. "I was like, that is not me. Who is that?" she said.

Her mother added: "You're just saying every young Black, brown girl with glasses fits the profile and that's not right."

Juliea Robinson and her husband, Derrick Robinson, told the TV station they were considering taking legal action.

They said their daughter's safety had been put at risk when she was asked to leave the building, but they are thankful that police were not called.

"You all put my daughter out of the establishment by herself, not knowing what could have happened," Derrick Robinson said.

In a statement to the station, the skating rink said a manager had asked Juliea Robinson to call back during the week.

"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," the statement added.

Newsweek has contacted Juliea Robinson and the Riverside Arena for comment.

The incident comes amid renewed scrutiny of facial recognition technology.

Robert Williams, a Black man who was arrested after being mistakenly identified as a suspected shoplifter, called on Congress to take action this week, as he testified before the U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security.

Williams has launched a lawsuit against Detroit police, seeking compensation for his ordeal and changes to how the city uses the technology.

A complaint filed last year by the American Civil Liberties Union stated: "Face recognition technology can't tell Black people apart. That includes Robert Williams, whose only thing in common with the suspect caught by the watch shop's surveillance feed is that they are both large-framed Black men."

Facial recognition camera
File photo of the camera on a facial recognition device, seen at Miami airport on February 27, 2018. Joe Raedle/Getty Images