Published: October 2016

Facial-recognition programs being used without safeguards

Consumer Action was one of fifty national civil rights, civil liberties, faith, and privacy organizations that sent a letter to the Justice Department urging it to investigate the increasing use and impact of face recognition by police. The letter comes amid mounting evidence that the technology is violating the rights of millions of Americans and having a disproportionate impact on communities of color.

The coalition letter sent to the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division explains how federal, state and local police forces use driver license photos to identify suspects —without warrants, accuracy tests, or audits. Police departments across the country are frequently using face recognition technologies to identify and track individuals — whether crossing the street, captured on surveillance cameras, or attending protests. Existing deficiencies within this surveillance system are likely to have a disparate impact on African-Americans and should not be operated without safeguards. Half of all adults in the country are in government face recognition databases, yet the vast majority of law enforcement agencies using this technology lack clear policies, audits to ensure accuracy, and transparency.

Lead Organization

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

Other Organizations | Philip Randolph Institute | Advocacy for Principled Action in Government | American Civil Liberties Union | Amnesty International USA | Arab American Institute | American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee | Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Asian Law Caucus | Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO | Bill of Rights Defense Committee/ Defending Dissent Foundation | Center for Democracy & Technology | Center for Media Justice | Color of Change | Constitutional Alliance | The Constitution Project | Consumer Action | Consumer Watchdog | Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) | Demand Progress | Electronic Frontier Foundation | Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) | Equity Matters | Fight for the Future | Free Press | Hip Hop Caucus | The Innocence Project | The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law | The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights | MPower Change | Media Alliance | Media Mobilizing Project | MommieActivist and Sons | MomsRising | NAACP | National Action Network | National Association of Social Workers (NASW) | National Center for Transgender Equality | National Council of Churches | National Employment Law Project | National Immigration Law Center | National Network for Arab American Communities | New America's Open Technology Institute | Oakland Privacy | OneAmerica (Washington State) | | Restore The Fourth | South Asian Americans Leading Together | Sunlight Foundation Transformative Justice Coalition | Women Who Never Give Up | United Church of Christ, OC Inc. | UNITED SIKHS

More Information

For more information, please visit the ACLU.

Download PDF

Facial-recognition programs being used without safeguards   (CoalitionLetterDOJFaceRecognition.pdf)




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