A group of senators which include US Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock, and US Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, among others have raised concerns with the Department of Justice (DOJ) on the use of facial recognition technology.
The senators believe the use of facial recognition software could lead to violations of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. In a letter to the DOJ, the Senators urged the Department of Justice to take additional action and provide oversight regarding these flawed technologies.
“We are deeply concerned that facial recognition technology may reinforce racial bias in our criminal justice system and contribute to arrests based on faulty evidence. Errors in facial recognition technology can upend the lives of American citizens. Should evidence demonstrate that errors systematically discriminate against communities of color, then funding these technologies could facilitate violations of federal civil rights laws,” the senators wrote the DOJ.
The press statement highlights the case of Randal Quran Reid, a Georgia resident arrested in November 2022 while en route to his mother's house for a crime committed in Louisiana—a state Reid had never visited.
Moreover, the letter highlights a 2020 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report revealing that the DOJ employed 11 facial recognition systems, in addition to an unspecified number of state and local systems. The report also noted the regular engagement of non-federal entities for facial recognition services.
Last year, the GAO highlighted in a report that certain agencies lack specific policies for facial recognition technology, which are crucial for safeguarding people's civil rights and liberties.