The dearth of accountability safeguards as government agencies acquire facial recognition technologies prompted Open the Government and a growing list of civil society groups to urge Congress to swiftly regulate the technology. New policies and research suggest there is increasing need to establish protections for facial recognition technology. San Francisco, Somerville, Massachusetts and Oakland have banned government agencies from adopting the technology amid widespread concerns about threats to civil rights and liberties. Compounding these concerns is the quiet adoption of facial recognition technology as a surveillance tool to secretly monitor citizens and non-citizens alike. A yearlong investigation by the Center on Privacy and Technology at Georgetown Law uncovered a startling statistic: images of over half of all American adults are in a facial recognition database accessible by law enforcement.
The time for Congress to check the growth of facial recognition technology on a national scale is now, before the technology becomes too ubiquitous for Congress to rein in. This is an opportunity for Congress to develop effective legislation that protects civil liberties and strengthens accountability.
Read the full guide here.