Facial recognition: Do you really control how your face is being used?


The fight over the use of our faces is far from done.

A raging battle over controversial facial recognition software used by law enforcement and the civil rights of Americans might be heading to a courtroom.

The latest salvo includes the American Civil Liberties Union suing the FBI, the Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Agency for those federal agencies’ records to see if there is any secret surveillance in use nationwide. The lawsuit, filed Oct. 31, comes as organizations and law enforcement are going toe-to-toe over what is private and what isn’t.

A facial recognition system uses biometric software to map a person’s facial features from a video or photo. The system then tries to match the information on databases to verify someone’s identity. Police departments regularly use facial recognition to find potential crime suspects and witnesses by scanning through millions of photos; the software is also used to provide surveillance at public venues like concerts and schools and used to gain access to specific properties.

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