Senators Markey and Merkley and Reps. Jayapal and Pressley Urge Federal Agencies to End Use of Clearview AI Facial Recognition Technology

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Washington (February 9, 2022) – Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Reps. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) and Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) today sent letters to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of Justice (DOJ), The Department of Defense (DOD), Department of the Interior (DOI), and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), urging agencies to end their use of Clearview AI facial recognition technology . In their letters, the lawmakers expressed serious concerns about the ability of this technology to eliminate public anonymity and noted that this technology poses unique threats to Black communities, communities of color and immigrant communities.

In August 2021, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a report identifying federal entities that used facial recognition tools, including Clearview AI technology. Clearview AI’s tools would allow users to capture and upload photos of strangers, analyze biometric information of the person photographed, and provide users with existing images and personal information of photographed persons found online. These and other facial recognition technologies pose unique threats to members of vulnerable communities, who are disproportionately likely to be misidentified and routinely subject to oversurveillance and heightened surveillance.

“Facial recognition tools pose a serious threat to the civil liberties and privacy rights of the public, and Clearview AI’s product is particularly dangerous. We urge you to immediately stop the Department’s use of facial recognition technology, including Clearview AI tools,” lawmakers wrote in their letters.

“Facial recognition technology like Clearview’s poses unique threats to marginalized communities in ways that go beyond issues of tool inaccuracy,” lawmakers continued. “Communities of color are routinely subject to oversurveillance, and the proliferation of biometric surveillance tools is therefore likely to disproportionately infringe on the privacy of individuals in black, brown, and immigrant communities.”

Letters to federal agencies can be found HERE.

In June 2021, Senators Markey and Merkley and Representatives Jayapal and Pressley reintroduced bicameral legislation to stop the government’s use of biometric technology, including facial recognition tools. the Moratorium law on facial recognition and biometric technology answer to reports that hundreds of local, state and federal entities, including law enforcement agencies, have used unregulated facial recognition technologies and research showing that about half of U.S. adults are already in facial recognition databases.

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