Human being is a fascinating species. We can create specials things out of nowhere and keep it sustainable for a good deal of time. Our sole ability to innovate and adapt was one of the biggest reasons why we became the dominant faction over other species who then became extinct. In addition, we can get creative with the existing commodities as well to make them much more useful, and this is something we have done in spades when it comes to technology. When everyone thought it couldn’t get better than this, we were able to diversify technology by integrating it into different sectors, hence making optimal use of its potential. One such integration we made was in law enforcement departments. The introduction of facial recognition and fingerprint recording technology along with many other biometric tools into criminal investigations was historic, and it pretty much changed the entire crime landscape. Law enforcement agencies were more agile and better equipped to reach correct conclusions. However, the current state of affairs regarding this technology doesn’t paint a very rosy picture. With cybercrime already rife in the country, United States’ Government Accountability Office brought another concerning detail into the picture.
GAO recently released a report that stated 20 of the 42 law enforcement agencies are using a somewhat unprotected system for facial recognition. Some of these agencies are either using their in-house facial recognition systems, while the others rely on platforms managed by companies like Clearview AI and Amazon’s Recognition. Now, the issue comes up to the surface when you learn that a good chunk of these agencies don’t always know how this technology is being used. Furthermore, they have to do with little or no idea about what third-parties are collecting data and how it’s being used.
It must be noted that not all the agencies in question actively engage in criminal investigations, but the high usage rate of facial recognition technology across these agencies creates an area of concern in terms of vulnerabilities surrounding individual privacy. The GAO report sheds light on the importance of stricter rules required for the administration of this technology. With government now having a detailed account of this issue, it remains to be seen what kind of measures they choose to bring in for reinforcing privacy protection across various biometric tools.