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Federal Government to Expand Use of Facial Recognition Despite Growing Concerns


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Running facial recognition on a woman's face.

The Government Accounting Offfice said in June that 20 federal agencies have used facial recognition software, even though 13 of those agencies said they did not have awareness of which private systems they used and had therefore not fully assessed the potential risks to privacy and accuracy.

Credit: Business Insider

The federal government plans to expand its use of facial recognition to pursue criminals and scan for threats, an internal survey has found, even as concerns grow about the technology's potential for contributing to improper surveillance and false arrests.

Ten federal agencies — the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, Interior, Justice, State, Treasury and Veterans Affairs — told the Government Accountability Office they intend to grow their facial recognition capabilities by 2023, the GAO said in a report posted to its website Tuesday.

Most of the agencies use face-scanning technology so employees can unlock their phones and laptops or access buildings, though a growing number said they are using the software to track people and investigate crime. The Department of Agriculture, for instance, said it wants to use it to monitor live surveillance feeds at its facilities and send an alert if it spots any faces also found on a watch list.

From The Washington Post
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