TechCrunch reveals that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement – ICE, the agency formed in 2003 as a replacement for the INS – has been quietly analyzing driver’s license photos in 22 states to help ID suspects… and witnesses… and bystanders… without telling Congress, or even (in some cases) getting a warrant:
Documents obtained by a public records request and seen by both The Washington Post and The New York Times reveal the scope of the privacy infraction. Utah alone saw close to 2,000 facial recognition searches from law enforcement agencies in the two years between 2015 and 2017.
Facial recognition remains controversial, not least because it’s been accused of racial bias and plagued with inaccuracies.
Earlier this year documents revealed 9,000 ICE agents have access to a massive license plate database, containing six billion vehicle detections. The database also includes a “hot list” of more than 1,100 license plates of subjects of interest, which triggers an alert every time the plates are picked up by a license plate reader.