50 Advocacy Orgs Urge Justice Department to Investigate Police Use of Face Recognition

For Immediate Release

50 Advocacy Orgs Urge Justice Department to Investigate Police Use of Face Recognition


Coalition Letter and Report Highlight Impact on Communities of Color

WASHINGTON - Fifty national civil rights, civil liberties, faith, and privacy organizations sent a letter today to the Justice Department urging it to investigate the increasing use and impact of face recognition by police. 

The letter, sent in partnership with the ACLU and The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, comes amid mounting evidence that the technology is violating the rights of millions of Americans and having a disproportionate impact on communities of color.

Also today, Georgetown Law’s Center on Privacy & Technology released a report finding that police departments across the country are frequently using face recognition technologies to identify and track individuals — whether crossing the street, captured on surveillance cameras, or attending protests. The report highlights that existing deficiencies are likely to have a disparate impact on African-Americans.

“We need to stop the widespread use of face recognition technology by police until meaningful safeguards are in place,” said Neema Singh Guliani, ACLU legislative counsel. “Half of all adults in the country are in government face recognition databases, yet the vast majority of law enforcement agencies using this technology lack clear policies, audits to ensure accuracy, and transparency.” 

Today’s letter, sent to the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, was signed by 50 diverse organizations. The letter explains how federal, state and local police forces use driver license photos to identify suspects —without warrants, accuracy tests, or audits. 

“This technology supercharges the racial bias that already exists in policing,” said Sakira Cook, counsel with The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “For the good of the nation, we can’t afford to let these inherently biased systems operate without any safeguards.”



Toll-free line: 877-876-9177 or 785-424-1666, Conference ID: Georgetown ***


Today’s ACLU and Leadership Conference coalition letter is here:

The Georgetown Law Center on Privacy & Technology report is here:

This statement is online here:


The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

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