U.S. privacy rights group calls for facial recognition regulation

According to a report recently published by the Center on Privacy & Technology at Georgetown Law on unregulated face recognition, at least 117 million adults are included in face recognition databases maintained by U.S. law enforcement.

The report is part of a year-long investigation by the privacy rights group, based upon the results of more than 100 government record requests. The report voices concerns about facial recognition and other biometric tools because the technology is unregulated. The report found, that to date, no state has passed legislation that comprehensively controls how law enforcement can use facial recognition.

According to the report, at least 26 states allow law enforcement to run or request searches against their databases of driver’s license and ID photos. The report also notes that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has created a network of facial recognition databases that is overwhelmingly made up of “non-criminal entries”. The report further notes that face recognition may be least accurate for those it is most likely to disproportionately affect: African Americans.

Due to the above concerns, and uncertainty from emerging technologies, including proposed systems that use face recognition via live stream for law enforcement applications, the Center is calling for Congress and all state legislatures to craft face recognition legislation. To aid in that task, the Center has drafted what it calls model face recognition legislation that can aid in law creation.

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