Tell the DOJ: Shut down facial recognition programs that endanger Black folks and violate our rights

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Tell the DOJ: Shut down facial recognition programs that endanger Black folks and violate our rights

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is sharing their new facial recognition database with police departments across the country, with no regulations or oversight to rein them in. Not only that, the FBI collected the information in their database by scanning the photos of driver's licenses, passports, and visa applications, meaning that millions of innocent people are now in a database that will only place them at risk of being harassed by the police. 

Studies have shown that facial recognition and other surveillance programs:

  • Face recognition technologies reinforce racial bias in our criminal justice system. 
  • Face recognition technologies do see race - inaccurately.
  • Face recognition is being deployed widely, civil rights protections are not.
  • The use of face recognition threatens our democracy and stifles free speech.

That's why we're working with our partners at the Center for Media Justice to make sure that we stop the reliance on this technology now before it gets any bigger.

Tell the Department of Justice:

  1. Issue a moratorium on the use of face recognition technology until after the DOJ is able to launch and complete an investigation into the disparate impacts of this technology.

  2. Ban law enforcement agencies from using real-time face recognition with fixed or mobile cameras that continuously scan the faces of anyone walking by the camera.


This is the letter we'll send to Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Gupta on your behalf: 

Here is the Petition:

Below is the message we'll deliver to the Department of Justice on your behalf:

Vanita Gupta

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General

U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division

950 Pennsylvania Ave. NW

Washington, D.C. 20530

Dear Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Gupta:

I am writing to express my deep concern regarding the use of face recognition technology by federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies and to call on the Department of Justice (DOJ) Civil Rights Division (CRT) to:

  1. Issue a moratorium on the use of face recognition technology until after the DOJ is able to launch and complete an investigation into the disparate impacts of this technology.

  2. Ban law enforcement agencies from using real-time face recognition with fixed or mobile cameras that continuously scan the faces of anyone walking by the camera.

A growing body of evidence suggests that law enforcement use of face recognition technology is exacerbating and entrenching existing policing disparities along racial lines. Moreover, there is evidence that this technology is being used at protests and rallies, raising significant First Amendment concerns. Thus, face recognition technology is rapidly being interconnected with everyday police activities, impacting virtually every jurisdiction in America.  Yet, the safeguards to ensure this technology is being used fairly and responsibly appear to be virtually nonexistent.

Examination of face recognition technologies and their impacts fits squarely within the jurisdiction of the DOJ CRT. Face recognition technology has enormous civil liberties implications and its use must be closely examined to ensure that it is not violating Americans’ civil rights, and to safeguard communities of color from further violence and abuse at the hands of law enforcement agencies.

I hope that you will do so.