You’re in a Police Lineup, Right Now

Face recognition technology is being used to unlock phones, clear customs, identify immigrants and solve crimes. In the Video Op-Ed above, Clare Garvie demands the United States government hit pause on face recognition. She argues that while this convenient technology may seem benign to those who feel they have nothing to hide, face recognition is something we should all fear. Police databases now feature the faces of nearly half of Americans — most of whom have no idea their image is there. The invasive technology violates citizens’ constitutional rights and is subject to an alarming level of manipulation and bias.

Our privacy, our right to anonymity in public and our right to free speech are in danger. Congress must declare a national moratorium on the use of face-recognition technology until legal restrictions limiting its use and scope can be developed. Without restrictions on face recognition, America’s future is closer to a Chinese-style surveillance state than we’d like to think.

Clare Garvie is a senior associate studying face-recognition technology at the Georgetown Center on Privacy and Technology.

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