Drivers Licenses becoming a resource for Police Facial recognition Databases
Law enforcement agencies are building what critics say is becoming a de facto national, searchable database of ID photos — with pictures of both those with and without a criminal past — that uses state driver’s licence photos as a foundation.
The facial databases have grown rapidly in recent years and generally operate with few legal safeguards beyond the requirement that searches are conducted for “law enforcement purposes.” Amid rising concern about the National Security Agency’s high-tech surveillance aimed at foreigners, it is these state-level facial-recognition programs that more typically involve American citizens.
Such open access has caused a backlash in some of the few states where there has been a public debate. As the databases grow larger and increasingly connected across jurisdictional boundaries, critics warn that authorities are developing what amounts to a national identification system — based on the distinct geography of each human face.