FBI, ICE Using Facial Recognition to Scan Driver’s License Photos



FBI, ICE Using Facial Recognition to Scan Millions of Driver’s License Photos



(CD) — A trove of public records obtained by privacy experts at Georgetown Law revealed that ICE and the FBI have used facial recognition technology to mine state driver’s license databases for information on millions of Americans without consent, a practice critics condemned as a “disturbing” breach of civil liberties.

According to the Washington Post, which first reported on the documents late Sunday, “Thousands of facial-recognition requests, internal documents, and emails over the past five years… reveal that federal investigators have turned state departments of motor vehicles databases into the bedrock of an unprecedented surveillance infrastructure.”


“Police have long had access to fingerprints, DNA, and other ‘biometric data’ taken from criminal suspects,” the Post reported. “But the DMV records contain the photos of a vast majority of a state’s residents, most of whom have never been charged with a crime.”


Privacy advocates and immigrant rights groups reacted with alarm to the documents, the release of which comes as members of Congress are increasingly raising concernsabout the threat facial recognition technology poses to civil liberties.


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