US lawmaker seek feedback on cities’ face recognition use
26 May 2017 12:03 GMT

A US congressman has written to 10 cities seeking documents relating to the use of facial recognition equipment in their jurisdictions.

Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) has launched the initative over privacy fears, specifically that biometric data gather risks infringement of the Fourth Amendment.

Letters were sent to the mayors of Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Diego, San Francisco and Washington, D.C

“The large scale recording, retention, and use of biometric information by law enforcement raises serious privacy concerns,” writes the letter, signed by both Cummings, who is the ranking member of the Committee on Government Oversight and Reform, and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), the committee’s chairman.

The letter requests seven broad categories of documents, beginning with "All policies, guidance, and memoranda referring or relating to the use or potential use of facial recognition technology" and ending with "An inventory of Baltimore's facial recognition technology that shows:

The total number of facial recognition technology systems in possession of or accessible by law enforcement and other authorized city of officials;

The name and manufacturer of the facial recognition technology;

Date of purchase and dates for any time the technology was updated;

The cost of each cial recognition technology system and the total amount spent in fiscal years2011-2016 on acquiring and using facial recognition techology; and

Whether the purchase of the technology was funded partly or wholly through a federal grant.