Mr. Howell is a lifelong protester and self-taught coder. He had begun researching how to build a facial recognition product that could defeat officers’ attempts to shield their identity.
Mr. Howell is not alone in his pursuit. Law enforcement has used facial recognition to identify criminals, using photos from government databases or, through a company called Clearview AI, from the public internet. But now activists around the world are turning the process around and developing tools that can unmask law enforcement in cases of misconduct.