Published: January 2020

Backlash grows over use of facial recognition

In a letter to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, an independent agency in the executive branch, consumer, privacy and civil liberties groups urged President Trump and his administration to prohibit the federal government from using facial surveillance on the American public. Advocates are ringing the alarm after a recent federal study by The National Institute of Standards and Technology found pervasive racial bias in facial surveillance technology, and a New York Times investigation found a startup, Clearview AI, was stockpiling more than 3 billion photos from online sites and offering them up to help law enforcement match photos of suspects to pictures online. Considering the startup’s obvious violations of existing privacy laws, and the prevalent bias and discrimination in the facial recognition systems that are currently in use, advocates recommend a blanket moratorium on the technology.

Consumer Action joined a group of consumer, civil liberties and privacy advocates in urging the Trump Administration to stop utilizing facial recognition technology by federal agencies. Advocates explain that state and local governments are taking steps to protect the privacy of U.S. citizens from the use of facial recognition for mass surveillance and the federal government’s use of the technology violates said privacy laws. Additionally, the group highlighted concerns of facial recognition bias in systems that are 100 times more likely to produce false positives for Asian and African American faces when compared to white faces.

Lead Organization

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)

Other Organizations

Alianza Naciónal de Campesinas | Algorithmic Justice League | American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) | American Friends Service Committee | Black and Brown Activism Defense Collective | Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood | Center for Digital Democracy | Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights – | CHIRLA | Color of Change | Constitutional Alliance | Consumer Action | Consumer Federation of America | Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) | Cyber Privacy Project | Defending Rights & Dissent | Demand Progress | Electronic Frontier Foundation | Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) | Fight for the Future | Freedom of the Press Foundation | Free Press Action | Media Alliance | MediaJustice | National Center for Transgender Equality | National Hispanic Media Coalition | National LGBTQ Task Force | National Workrights Institute | Oklahoma Black Historical Research Project, Inc.O | Open MIC (Open Media and Information Companies Initiative) | Patient Privacy Rights | Popular Resistance | Privacy Times | Project on Government Oversight | Restore the Fourth | Rural Coalition, Washington, DC | Rural Advancement Fund of the National Sharecroppers Fund, Orangeburg, SC | Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (S.T.O.P.) | Woodhull Freedom Foundation | World Farmers (Lancaster, MA) | X-Lab

More Information

For more information, please visit EPIC.

Download PDF

Backlash grows over use of facial recognition   (PCLOB-Letter-FRT-Suspension.pdf)




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