Monday, April 3, 2017

Lawmakers scathing over FBI’s facial recognition database

Between civil and criminal mugshot photos, the State Department’s visa and passport databases, the Defense Department’s biometric database, and the drivers’ license databases of 18 states, nearly half of all Americans are in a facial recognition database that the FBI can get at without warrants or without even having to prove they have reasonable suspicion that we’ve done anything wrong.

How did we get in there?

Illegally, that’s how. That was the assessment of last week’s House oversight committee hearing, when politicians and privacy campaigners scathingly took the FBI to task. The committee called for stricter regulation of facial recognition technology at a time when it’s exploding, both in the hands of law enforcement and in business.

The FBI is required, by law, to first publish a privacy impact assessment before it uses facial recognition technology (FRT). For years, it did no such thing, as became clear when the FBI’s Kimberly Del Greco – deputy assistant director of the bureau’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division – was on the hot seat, being grilled by the committee.

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