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FBI, ICE Using Driver’s License Photos for Facial Recognition

Officials from the FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement have for years been using facial recognition to scan photos of suspects against state driver’s license photo databases to identify them during investigations, The Washington Post reported. The revelation adds new fuel to the debate over the ethics and legality of law enforcement agencies using facial recognition software, the accuracy of which has been widely questioned. 

Driver’s license photos are a powerful tool for law enforcement because they are clear and capture a person’s full face, providing an accurate basis for matching to other photos and video. But since neither Congress nor state lawmakers have approved the use of driver’s license photo databases for law enforcement purposes, this type of mass surveillance carries significant potential for civil rights violations, according to privacy advocates. 

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