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EFF initiative shows what U.S. government agencies may hold your facial biometric data

EFF initiative shows what U.S. government agencies may hold your facial biometric data

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has announced a new initiative called “Who Has Your Face” to help Americans understand what databases of facial biometric information they are likely to be included in.

The initiative, launched in collaboration with the Center of Privacy & Technology (CPT) at Georgetown Law, is intended to expose photo sharing between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Departments of Motor Vehicles from dozens of states, the FBI, law enforcement, and other agencies. The EFF says it builds on the CPT’s “The Perpetual Lineup” and its own work on government databases.

People in the U.S. or who have visited the country can take a short quiz to receive information on what databases they are likely included in, and details about photo sharing discovered by the EFF and CPT.

Individuals do not know they are included in the databases, and are not able to opt out, EFF says, and further claims that assessing who is at risk of what is not possible, because of a lack of transparency. DMVs responded differently to the same request for information, and some did not respond or declined to provide answers, according to a post announcing the initiative. Other responses contradicted each other. Different interpretations of Real ID statutes only complicate matters.

“This level of confusion and obfuscation is, frankly, unacceptable. It should be simple for anyone to learn who has their private, biometric data, and we must work to make it easier,” EFF Digital Strategist Jason Kelley writes.

The EFF concludes its announcement with a call for a ban on the use of facial recognition, which is referred to in the final section as “face surveillance” and “facial surveillance.”

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