U.S. government agencies plan to increase the use of facial recognition technology.

Ten agencies are working on research and development in the area, including the Department of Justice, Defense, Homeland Security and the state. Agencies were involved, but some researched the well-documented bias of many facial recognition systems. The Department of Justice, for example, studied the relationship between skin tone and false match rate in facial recognition algorithms. Others were researching how to make such systems more accurate, even when scanning masked people.

The report also highlights the extensive integration coordination and sharing of facial recognition systems and information. Many federal agencies have reported that they have purchased their facial recognition systems from state and local governments. The Department of Homeland Security has revealed that its information network “has a mechanism for finding third-party facial recognition through the following state and local agencies, such as Fusion Centers.”

A spokesman for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit digital rights group, said: “This important GAO report exposes the federal government’s growing reliance on facial surveillance technology. The most disturbing law enforcement agencies. However, facial surveillance is highly invasive to privacy, so discriminating against people of color, and can lead to false arrests, so that the government does not use facial surveillance at all.

In June, the GAO released a report on the facial recognition capabilities of 42 federal agencies that employ law enforcement officers. It shows that many law enforcement agencies used facial recognition after last summer’s racial justice demonstrations and the January attack on the US capital. The report also states that 13 out of 42 agencies do not fully understand their use of technology. BuzzFeed News reports that the GAO’s report was potentially incomplete, with five federal agencies saying they did not use the ClearView AI system.

Adoption of technology is increasing at every level of government. This past March, Claire ViewA said that approximately 100 percent of the 18,000 U.S. federal, state, county, and local law enforcement agencies have used their software.

There is no federal regulation on the use of law enforcement facial recognition technology in the United States, although legislation is expected. Many states and cities ban law enforcement and government use of software, although local restrictions do not preclude federal use.


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