Facial Recognition & Other Biometric Technologies
Comments to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
The Lawyers’ Committee submitted comments to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (“OSTP”) in response to its Request for Information on Public and Private Sector Uses of Biometric Technologies. In our comments, we discussed how facial recognition is racially discriminatory and urged OSTP to consider the federal government’s nondiscrimination obligations under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits spending federal funds on discriminatory programs.
- Read our comments here.
- Read OSTP’s Request for Information in the Federal Register (86 FR 56300) here.
Joint Statement on Law Enforcement Use of Facial Recognition Technology
Law enforcement use of facial recognition technology often violates civil rights. Thirty-nine civil society organizations released a joint statement about how these technologies pose a severe threat to everyone’s safety, wellbeing, and freedom. The joint statement highlights how facial recognition technology is fundamentally discriminatory, explains how it exacerbates justice in policing, and urges Congress to enact a nationwide ban on its use by law enforcement.
- Read the full statement here.
Facial Recognition and Biased Test Proctoring: Letter to the California State Bar
The Lawyers’ Committee sent a letter to the California State Bar and ExamSoft in February 2021, demanding they stop using facial recognition technology for remote administration of the bar exam during the pandemic, following reports that the software was disproportionately causing women and people of color to experience problems taking the exam. The letter recommends alternative administration methods that can be used to administer the bar exam with equal efficacy. In June 2021, the National Conference of Bar Examiners announced it would discontinue remote administration of bar exams.
Comments to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board on the use of facial recognition in airports
The Lawyers’ Committee submitted comments to the federal Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) regarding the use of facial recognition technology for airport security. People of color suffer disproportionate harms from domestic surveillance, both because surveillance technologies are frequently infected with biases and because they are often used in a discriminatory fashion.
- Read the letter here.