Congress wants to know how Baltimore cops are using facial recognition technology - Technical.ly Baltimore

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May 31, 2017 10:15 am

Congress wants to know how Baltimore cops are using facial recognition technology

Rep. Elijah Cummings wants to know if police departments are infringing on your privacy.
Protests outside Camden Yards, April 25, 2015.

Protests outside Camden Yards, April 25, 2015.

(Photo by Stephen Babcock)

The federal government is looking into how city police departments use facial recognition technology, and whether privacy rights have been violated.

In his role as ranking member of the U.S. House Oversight Committee, Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-Baltimore), was among the leaders who sent letters to the mayors of 10 cities — including Baltimore — requesting an inventory of facial recognition systems, and photographs that result from the use of the technology.

The committee held a hearing on the tech on March 22, and wants to “better understand the technology, legal standards, and policies governing the use of this facial recognition technology … to safeguard American citizens’ privacy and civil liberties,” the letter states. The deadline to submit info was Tuesday.

The letter was first reported by GCN, and also reported on locally by City Paper.

An ACLU report revealed that the technology was used by Baltimore County police during the protests that followed Freddie Gray’s funeral in Baltimore. Use of the technology by state police was also documented by the Georgetown Law Center on Privacy & Technology in a 2016 report.

Attention died down after those reports last fall, but this letter shows that Congress continues to be interested.

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