Companies like Facebook have been scrutinized by government regulators over the use of facial recognition technology. Now the Electronic Frontier Foundation is putting a mirror up to the government to demand the same scrutiny back.
The organization is suing the Federal Bureau of Investigation over access to its facial recongition records, based on three Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests that the EFF originally made a year ago. We’re embedding the complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, below.
To be clear, the EFF is not asking for actual facial recognition records — although that may be to come. For now, the complaint is restricted to demanding records relating to the FBI’s plans for its facial recognition program, which is still being put in place and expected to launch in 2014.
The EFF is asking records of agreements and discussions between the FBI and state agencies; records related to the FBI’s assessment of the reliability of face-recognition technology; and records of the FBI’s plans to merge civilian and criminal records in a single repository. The EFF says it also wants to know how many records containing facial-recognition data the FBI may already have. For those who believe that programs like this should be made more public, the EFF’s requests are essential building blocks for those subsequent demands of the records themselves.