The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) brought a civil action this week, in Federal Court, against the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Department of Justice, seeking extensive records of those agencies' use of facial recognition software (FRS). The plaintiff demanded documents that detail how they use and audit FRS, how they interact with the private sector firms that create and provide the software, and what agency internal procedures are in place to guide, regulate and safeguard use of FRS. Law enforcement agencies use FRS to identify suspects and witnesses in criminal investigations.
The suit was filed after the agencies failed to timely respond to repeated Freedom of Information Act requests. The FBI Next Generation Identification database reportedly contains more than 30,000,000 photographs. Another FBI resource, known as FACE, for Facial Analysis, Comparison and evaluation, holds over 640 million images.*
Readers who are interested in this subject may access the Complaint here. The style is American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts vs. United States Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Drug Enforcement Administration, Case No.: 19-cv-12242 (D Mass).
* Compliance officers who use FRS for Customer Identification are reminded that they should only use photographic databases containing high-resolution headshot-quality images, and avoid low quality social media images, which can result in misidentification.
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