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EFF thwarts California plan to share DMV photos, use facial recognition


An Electronic Frontier Foundation email campaign that saw participation from more than 1,500 Californians successfully defeated a proposal that would have allowed state law enforcement to share images from the DMV and use facial recognition technology, according to a report by Electronic Frontier Foundation.

As part of a larger plan, a committee within the California Department of Justice passed a motion to share a database of driver and mugshot images with a national law enforcement network and allow California state police to use facial recognition technology to cross-match against the database.

At its meeting last week, the California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (CLETS) Advisory Committee (CAC) voted unanimously to omit “Goal 8” from its plan, which called for image sharing and the use of facial recognition.

The EFF wrote a letter to CAC and its Stranding Strategic Planning Subcommittee, addressing its concerns.

In the letter, the EFF states that CLETS staff applied for a grant to develop the biometric system and began organizing lobbying meetings with law enforcement associations, despite having already received disclaimers from the California Department of Motor Vehicles that photo-sharing and facial recognition would be in direct violation of California laws.

In addition to image sharing and facial recognition technology, EFF also voiced concerns to the committee at its meeting regarding its other strategic goals, including collection of biometrics for infractions and using GPS technology to track offenders.

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