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Report finds FBI, ICE using driver license photos with facial recognition technology

Posted at 4:34 PM, Jul 08, 2019

You could be one of the millions of Americans who have had your driver's license photo scanned without your knowledge or consent.

A new report reveals both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents are using facial recognition technology to scan driver's license photos as part of investigations.

In addition to privacy concerns, critics point out facial recognition technology is both unregulated and can be inaccurate.

“An innocent individual could become the target of a law enforcement investigation, simply because you have a glitchy computer system,” Jake Laperruque, with Project on Government Oversight, says.

Laperruque is a privacy advocate for the watchdog organization.

“I would bet most people in states don't want their photos being churned through an FBI database to search for random investigative targets,” he says.

New research from Georgetown Law revealed the first known instance of ICE agents analyzing driver's license photos without any consent, which could put more pressure on Congress to act.

Both Democrats and Republicans have expressed concerns about the technology at congressional hearings this session.

“More than half of American adults are part of facial recognition databases and they might not even know it,” expressed Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland).

“It doesn't matter what side of the political spectrum you're on, this should concern us all,” said Jim Jordan (R-Ohio).

As Congress weighs legislation to regulate facial recognition, some cities have started to ban law enforcement and public agencies from using the software.