According to a new study, 117 million Americans have their faces stored in facial recognition databases used by law enforcement with little, to no regulations. The study, The Perpetual Line-Up, is a 150-page report that documents a huge cobbled-together network of facial recognition systems that are being used by federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. The way in which the agencies are able to use the stored data has little regulations and few legal standards established. Some of the databases use mug shots, while others use driver’s license pictures; and in some states such as Maryland and Pennsylvania, the databases use a combination of the two.
This is particularly troubling for the Black community because according to the study, Black people are far more likely than other racial groups to have their picture taken, analyzed, and reviewed for potential crime suspects during a computerized search. This is now becoming a totally new way of racially profiling the Black population. This study points to a very troubling trend because other studies have shown that Blacks are far more likely to be falsely arrested and have their mug shots taken, which is one of the main ways that these images wind-up in police databases. The report pointed out that criminal databases are rarely ever purged of people that were deemed innocent, the databases are not checked for accuracy, and it has been shown that the systems have a harder time distinguishing between darker-skinned faces.