The FBI and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement have reportedly been mining driver’s license photos for facial recognition. They are said to have used facial recognition software on millions of driver’s license photos provided by 21 states in order to search and find suspects. It’s added that the agencies have often been doing this without first obtaining a search warrant or even a court order.

The New York Times and The Washington Post report, based on documents that were obtained by a public records request and seen by both, that the FBI and immigration officials have been using this data to not only identify criminal suspects but also witnesses, victims, and even bystanders.

They would do that without getting a search warrant or a court order first and the states would simply provide them the data. In some cases, agents had just emailed the relevant state’s department of motor vehicles for assistance. There were around 2,000 facial recognition searches of this kind in Utah alone between 2015 and 2017.

The access or the searchers have never been authorized by Congress or state lawmakers. The use of facial recognition and its impact to a citizen’s right to privacy have already been criticized by a bipartisan group of congresspeople.

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