US police facial data sharing opacity

Occurred: October 2016

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A report by Georgetown Law’s Center on Privacy and Technology finds law enforcement agencies across the US can access the facial photos of over 117 million US adults stored in government datasets, raising serious questions about privacy and poor  transparency.

Based on over 100 information requests, the researchers reveal the FBI, state and local police departments are using or building facial recognition systems to compare the faces of suspected criminals to their driver’s license and ID photos in a mostly opaque and unregulated manner. 

Moreover, few agencies have instituted 'meaningful protections' to prevent misuse of the technology, the report states.

Operator: Chicago PD; Dallas PD; LAPD
Developer: Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
Country: USA
Sector: Govt - police
Purpose: Identify criminals
Technology: Facial recognition
Issue: Privacy; Accuracy/reliability; Bias/discrimination - racial, ethnicity
Transparency: Black box; Governance

Page info
Type: Incident
Published: November 2021