Argentina is using facial recognition system that tracks child suspects, Human Rights Watch says

Publishing such information violates the Convention of the Rights of the Child, a U.N. agreement to which Argentina is a signatory, that says a child’s privacy should be respected at all stages of legal proceedings, said Hye Jung Han, a researcher and advocate in the children’s rights division at Human Rights Watch, who was the lead researcher on the report.

Argentina’s embassy in Washington did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

On a visit to Argentina in May 2019, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy warned the Argentine government that CONARC’s database contained 61 children. By that October Argentina’s justice ministry said there was no children’s data in CONARC. But the report contends the practice continued after the U.N. visit, with 25 additional children added to the database.

An HRW review of CONARC also saw that the public information about the children was peppered with inaccuracies.

“Some children appear multiple times,” José Miguel Vivanco, director of Human Rights Watch’s Americas division, wrote Friday in a public letter of concern to Argentine President Alberto Fernández. “There are blatant typographical errors, conflicting details, and multiple national ID numbers assigned to single individuals, raising the risk of mistaken matches. In one example, a 3-year-old is listed as being wanted for aggravated robbery.”

He added that the practice of using this information for facial recognition tracking also poses huge accuracy risks, given the higher rate of misidentification of children with such technology.

“Facial recognition technology has considerably higher error rates for children, in part because most algorithms have been trained, tested and tuned only on adult faces,” Vivanco wrote. “In addition, since children experience rapid and drastic changes in their facial features as they age, facial recognition algorithms also often fail to identify a child who is a