(TargetLiberty.org) – A group of Democratic senators recently reached out to the Department of Justice (DOJ), raising concerns over the law enforcement’s use of facial recognition technology. In a letter addressed to Attorney General Merrick Garland on Thursday, they highlighted the potential unreliability and inaccuracy of such technologies, particularly in identifying individuals based on race and ethnicity.
The letter was signed by a notable group of senators, including Raphael Warnock from Georgia, Dick Durbin from Illinois, Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin from Maryland, John Fetterman from Pennsylvania, Peter Welch from Vermont, Jeff Merkley from Oregon, Tina Smith from Minnesota, Laphonza Butler from California, Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey from Massachusetts, Alex Padilla from California, Brian Schatz from Hawaii, Cory Booker from New Jersey, Ron Wyden from Oregon, Bernie Sanders from Vermont, Gary Peters from Michigan, and Mark Kelly from Arizona.
These senators expressed their alarm over incidents where African Americans were wrongfully arrested based on flawed facial recognition matches. They pointed out that such misuse of biometric technology might contravene Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits both intentional discrimination and practices with discriminatory effects. This concern extends to technologies funded by DOJ grants, which must not facilitate discrimination.
The letter also posed a series of questions to the DOJ, seeking information about the training provided for using facial recognition technology and how its application aligns with civil rights laws. The senators requested a response by the end of February.
Their primary worry is that facial recognition technology might perpetuate racial biases within the criminal justice system, leading to arrests based on erroneous evidence. They stressed the disruptive impact such errors can have on American citizens’ lives, especially in communities of color. The senators emphasized that if such technologies are found to systematically discriminate against these communities, their funding might result in violations of federal civil rights laws.
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