Senators, including Sens. Raphael Warnock, Cory Booker, Laphonza Butler, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Chris Van Hollen, and more, have called out the Department of Justice (DOJ).
“In recent years, facial recognition and other biometric technologies have become widely used in law enforcement,” the letter reads, according to the outlet. “However, these technologies can be unreliable and inaccurate, especially with respect to race and ethnicity.”
The letter went on to mention that the errors from “an incorrect facial recognition match” were tied to wrongful arrests in the Black community. What’s more, the senators shared their belief that the tech has the potential to go against Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
“The law prohibits intentional discrimination as well as discriminatory effects,” the letter reads. “Title VI thus restricts the ability of grant recipients funded by agencies like DOJ to deploy programs or technologies that may result in discrimination.”
As previously reported by AFROTECH, the Minneapolis, Boston, and San Francisco police departments are among the departments that have banned their police officers from using facial recognition software. Wrongly accusing people based on false matches not only demonstrates racial bias but can also be deadly for people of color.
“Errors in facial recognition technology can upend the lives of American citizens,” the letter continued. “Should evidence demonstrate that errors systematically discriminate against communities of color, then funding these technologies could facilitate violations of federal civil rights laws.”
In the letter, senators requested for the DOJ to answer questions regarding facial recognition tech training and compliance with civil rights laws by the end of February 2024, according to the outlet.