3 reasons to worry about the FBI's facial recognition program

3 reasons to worry about the FBI's facial recognition program
Chairman Chaffetz
PHOTO: Video screengrab

The FBI quietly developed a facial recognition network that allows law enforcement to identify people in the United States without their knowledge.

Now lawmakers want to know why the agency didn't tell people about it.

"Why did the FBI not fulfil the requirement of the law?" asked House Oversight Committee chairman Jason Chaffetz at a hearing on Wednesday.

The FBI didn't let citizens know the agency was collecting photos from motor vehicle departments, according to a report from the Government Accountability Office. And a lot of people can be found on law enforcement facial recognition networks - around half of American adults, according to a study from Georgetown University's Center on Privacy and Technology.

Read also: Australia to replace passports with facial-recognition technology

At the hearing, House members hit on a bunch of topics with Kimberly Del Greco, the FBI's deputy assistant director of the Criminal Justice Information Services Division.

Here are three of the most alarming issues from the hearing.

Racial profiling

Elijah Cummings, a Democrat from Maryland who lives in Baltimore, was more than a little worried about the Georgetown study, which showed facial recognition was less accurate when trying to identify black people.

"If you're black, you're more likely to be subjected to this technology, and the technology is more likely to be wrong," he said. "That's a hell of a combination."

Read the full article here.


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