The FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement have been using driver’s license records to develop a facial recognition database, the Washington Post reported.
Here’s what we know
According to the Post report, the FBI and ICE have used photos from Department of Motor Vehicles databases in multiple states for facial recognition purposes. In addition, ICE has used databases in states that allow illegal immigrants to get driver’s licenses to identify and deport these immigrants.
Overall, the FBI has reportedly used these databases for facial recognition purposes more than 390 times since 2011. Driver’s license photos in particular seem to have become a regular resource for federal investigations.
The Post’s reporting is based on internal documents and emails provided to the paper by researchers at Georgetown University, who in turn had requested them from the government.
”They’ve just given access to that to the FBI,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) told the Post. ”No individual signed off on that when they renewed their driver’s license, got their driver’s licenses. They didn’t sign any waiver saying, ‘Oh, it’s OK to turn my information, my photo, over to the FBI.’ No elected officials voted for that to happen.”
This criticism was echoed by Jordan’s Democratic colleague, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), who said in a statement to the Post that “[l]aw enforcement’s access of state databases” was “often done in the shadows with no consent.”
ICE refused The Hill’s request for comment on this report.
When asked by the Boston Globe about the use of DMV databases, the FBI pointed to the congressional testimony of Deputy Assistant Director Kimberly Del Greco who had argued that facial recognition was crucial ”to preserve our nation’s freedoms, ensure our liberties are protected, and preserve our security.”