Thursday, May 25, 2017

Busted: Vermont DMV Caught Using Illegal Facial Recognition Program

The American Civil Liberties Union of Vermont has obtained internal Department of Motor Vehicles records describing a DMV facial recognition program that is banned by Vermont state law and compromises the privacy and security of thousands of Vermonters. In a letter delivered yesterday to DMV Commissioner Robert Ide, the ACLU demands an immediate end to the program, which was first implemented in 2012.

Vermont DMV records provided to the ACLU show the agency using facial recognition software (FRS) to search and share with other state and federal government agencies the photographs and personal information of Vermont ID holders. That violates a 2004 state law barring the use of technologies that “involve the use of biometric identifiers.”

ACLU of Vermont staff attorney Jay Diaz: “DMV’s program is patently illegal—there is nothing in the legislative history or administrative record we reviewed to indicate that this program should be exempt from the statute’s requirements. To the contrary, the extensive problems uncovered by the ACLU show exactly why the Legislature was right to adopt this law to protect Vermonters’ privacy from government surveillance.”

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