Fifty civil rights groups have signed a letter asking the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate police use of facial-recognition databases following a report that half of America's adults have their images stored in at least one searchable facial-recognition database used by local, state and federal authorities They argue the technology disproportionately affects minorities and has minimal oversight. Researchers even found The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office in Arizona has enrolled all of Honduras' driver's licenses and mug shots into its database. States in dark blue use drivers license photos in police facial recognition databases. Red dots represent other jurisdictions using facial recognition. Of the 52 agencies that acknowledged using face recognition, only one obtained legislative approval for its use and only one agency provided evidence that it audited officers' face recognition searches for misuse.
Last week, the Australian government unveiled its plan for driver's license photos to be included on a national facial recognition database. While there's concern from experts about the erosion of people's privacy and civil liberties, polling by research company Roy Morgan shows that most Australians don't seem to care. SEE ALSO: Apple's facial recognition tech could be coming to iPads next Only 32.5 percent of the 1,486 people surveyed via text message were concerned about mass facial recognition technology, leaving a majority (67.5 percent) unperturbed by the measure. For Tim Singleton Norton, chair of Digital Rights Watch, these results don't come as a surprise. "I think there's a very low public understanding of what the issues are and the ramifications are," he said.
Microsoft has discreetly pulled a facial recognition database from its site that contained 10 million images of some 100,000 people. The internet giant took down the database after a Financial Times investigation revealed that the database has been used by companies and military researchers to train facial recognition systems around the world. The public dataset, called'MS Celeb,' included images of'celebrities' pulled from the internet, but also contained photos of'arguably private individuals,' often without their knowledge or consent, the FT found. Microsoft, which referred to MS Celeb as the largest publicly available facial recognition data set in the world, said the database was meant for use by academic researchers. The images were harvested from the web under protection of the Creative Commons license, which allows for reuse of images for academic and educational purposes.
American law enforcement agencies have created a massive facial recognition database. If you're an adult in the US, you might already be in it. According to a comprehensive report by the Center for Privacy & Technology at Georgetown Law, the law enforcement's database has 117 million American adults on file. The report says authorities used driver's license IDs from 26 states to build the database, which includes people who've never committed any kind of crime before. That's already a problem in and of itself, but it's compounded by the lack of oversight on how it's used.