Watchdog Group Sues ICE For Records of Facial Recognition Use and Data Collection Methods

Watchdog Group Sues ICE For Records of Facial Recognition Use and Data Collection Methods

The Project on Government Oversight wants more information about how the agency has solicited facial recognition software from Amazon and other companies.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is facing a lawsuit for failing to release records pertaining to its surveillance and data collection capabilities, which are rapidly expanding into fields like facial recognition.

In the past year, the Project on Government Oversight that it has requested documents from ICE eight times about its detention methods, civil rights violations and surveillance technology, The Washington Post reported. Those requests were filed under the Freedom of Information Act, which requires a government agency to make a decision and notify the person who requested the information within 20 days.

The government watchdog group, which uses the acronym POGO, said that in all eight cases, ICE either gave incomplete responses or failed to respond to their requests.

“The information to be disclosed is likely to contribute to an increased public understanding of government activities, as it relates to powerful and troubling technological capabilities that federal law enforcement may be considering harnessing,” the group wrote in its complaint, filed Thursday, according to the Post.

In further explaining the group’s reasoning for requesting the documents, POGO wrote: “This technology would be externally directed toward the public and the public has a great interest in whether the government is taking steps to utilize this technology.”

Last year, POGO obtained and published documents showing that Amazon Web Services had pitched the company’s facial recognition software, Rekognition, to ICE in June 2018. Since then, the group has made several followup requests with ICE to obtain more materials surrounding Amazon’s pitch, analysis of the software and communications between officials about facial recognition.

ICE, which has not commented publicly about the lawsuit, sent back three redacted pages to POGO based on an initial request and said that no further documents about facial recognition could be found. The watchdog group said that it is “seemingly unlikely” that ICE, which has reportedly used facial recognition for arrests of undocumented people in the U.S., does not have further records on the subject in their system.

“This is a technology that has a lot of policy urgency because of how rapidly the adoption of the technology is taking place and how rapidly it’s changing,” Jake Laperruque, the senior counsel for POGO who submitted FOIA requests to the agency, told the Post. “It’s not the kind of thing where we can afford to wait two years to see how it’s being used.”

About the Author

Haley Samsel is an Associate Content Editor for the Infrastructure Solutions Group at 1105 Media.

Featured

  • Security Today Launches 2023 Government Security Awards

    Security Today Launches 2023 Government Security Awards

    Security Today is proud to announce the launch of the 2023 Government Security Awards. The Govies honor outstanding government security products in a variety of categories. For this year’s awards program, participants can choose from 38 different categories to enter their product(s) into. Read Now

  • Back to the Basics

    Back to the Basics

    Security is a continuous evolution of practices and procedures. The developments in technology and advancements in threats make security difficult at times. Although security from one location may look different from another location, there is a common goal applied to security measures. The common goal is protection. Read Now

  • The Top Three Security Trends in 2023

    The Top Three Security Trends in 2023

    As security technology has become more widely used, the interest in new capabilities and increased security measures has increased. As we head into 2023, these three trends will shape the security landscape. Read Now

  • TSA Breaks Record Nationally and in Washington for Firearm Discoveries in 2022

    TSA Breaks Record Nationally and in Washington for Firearm Discoveries in 2022

    Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers in Washington detected 164 firearms in travelers’ carry-on luggage in 2022, with the majority of the firearms discovered at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport’s (SEA) security checkpoints. Read Now

Featured Cybersecurity

New Products

  • Altronix eFlow

    Altronix eFlow™ Dual Voltage Access Control Kits

    Altronix has launched an enhanced line of eFlow™ power supply/charger kits that provide 12 and 24VDC simultaneously for locking devices and peripherals. 3

  • ComNet CNGE6FX2TX4PoE

    The ComNet cost-efficient CNGE6FX2TX4PoE is a six-port switch that offers four Gbps TX ports that support the IEEE802.3at standard and provide up to 30 watts of PoE to PDs. It also has a dedicated FX/TX combination port as well as a single FX SFP to act as an additional port or an uplink port, giving the user additional options in managing network traffic. The CNGE6FX2TX4PoE is designed for use in unconditioned environments and typically used in perimeter surveillance. 3

  • Dahua 2-Wire IP Video Intercom System

    Dahua 2-Wire IP Video Intercom System

    Dahua Technology is introducing a new line of expandable 2-wire IP video intercom solutions for the North America market. The New 2-wire IP video intercom is more advanced, cost effective, and designed to help businesses increase their security. 3