The Trump administration is being called to question in a legal setting as the American Civil Liberties Union has decided to crack down on the facial recognition protocol being followed in airports across the U.S. They are demanding more information regarding the plans of the government to expand facial recognition mechanisms. They find this as a serious concern because it intrudes on the privacy of every individual and it could possibly lead to massive and unnecessary government surveillance that would not be traceable by the general public.
Apart from filing the lawsuit, the ACLU has also filed requests for public records regarding a specific service that matches photos of a person’s face to a current database of photographs they already have in their system. Though travelers can opt-out of using this system, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) tried to make it mandatory last year. There was much criticism and they did not go forward with their plan but there is a fear that they may be planning to expand the facial recognition program and possibly make it mandatory in the future.
The main concern the ACLU has is the lack of transparency they feel is being shown regarding the facial recognition services. They fear that the public is completely unaware of what the program means for their own privacy and even about the accuracy of the systems. If the systems fail to recognize a person and for this reason, the individual is not allowed to fly, then this can lead to serious social and even economic consequences down the road. The use of facial recognition technology by governments and corporations has been barred in San Francisco and a ban is being considered by the European Union.
Who is the ACLU?
The American Civil Liberties Union is a group that is dedicated to informing Americans about their rights and protecting these rights at all costs. Their goal is to get out as much information as possible to the public to inform them of all their rights and what they can do to protect themselves from unfair treatment by government officials and individuals such as police officers who hold a lot of power and are acting under color of law.
The ACLU was founded in 1920 and they work in legal situations such as courts and legislatures to guard the liberty that rightfully belongs to all the American people. The Constitution of the United States and neighboring laws all protect citizens from being treated unfairly and from having their human and civil rights being taken away from them.
The idea of the government using a facial recognition system in public areas is worrying because of the amount of control it gives them and because of the invasion of privacy that it entails for the general public. The lawsuit has been filed against the Trump administration for their lack of transparency and even if nothing comes out of this lawsuit, at least awareness of the potential consequences of mass surveillance has been introduced to the public.