EFF and Muckrock reveal police biometric use in California
30 November 2015 10:44 GMT

Privacy organisation the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and investigative online site Muckrock have used a combination of record requests and public contributions to create an overview of how state and local law enforcement agencies in California are using mobile biometric technology in the field.

The study reveals the various systems, network linkages and modalities being used by  offices and agencies including the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (LASD) and the Pasadena Police Department.

Insights in the report include the information that, in summer 2015, the San Jose Police Department applied for a $500,000 federal grant to establish a facial recognition system that would serve 12 partner agencies in Santa Clara County.

The system would comb through the county’s thousands of pieces of digital surveillance footage, as well as a database with the county’s 1.8 million mug shots, to ID suspects.

LASD has also purchased services a facial recognition mobile app for iOS, Android, and Windows 8 tablets—licensed for up to 250 individual devices

“Just as the technology that powers your cell phone has shrunk both in size and cost, mobile biometric technologies are now being deployed more widely and cheaply than ever before—and with less oversight,” wrote the EFF in its report.

The report is the result of the EFF and MuckRock News teaming up in August to reveal how state and local law enforcement agencies are using mobile biometric technology in the field.

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