Biometric identification technology is increasingly prominent among California law enforcement agencies, according to an investigative report from the Electronic Frontier Foundation and MuckRock. The privacy advocates have made numerous requests to a number of police organizations in the state about their use of biometric technology.
So far, nine police organizations have responded, and according to EFF and MuckRock’s report, most of those are indeed using fingerprint biometrics devices. The report notes that facial recognition technology has been “widely embraced among agencies in San Diego County, with Santa Clara County law enforcement agencies close behind.” Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department is using tattoo recognition technology, and “the Orange County Sheriff’s Department is also investigating iris recognition.”
It’s worth noting that the report’s findings are not statistically representative, as 17 of the police departments contacted responded that they are not able to provide any relevant documentation, three others haven’t responded at all, and two are still working on their responses. But EFF and MuckRock’s findings do offer some validation to the notion that there is a rising trend of police adoption of biometric identification technology. Indeed, police forces’ enthusiasm for such technology is not a secret; nevertheless it is cause for alarm to privacy advocates not only in the EFF and MuckRock, but in the broader government as well.
Source: Electronic Frontier Foundation
November 5, 2015 – by Alex Perala
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