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Lawmakers Demand Answers on Facial Recognition Deployments in Public Housing

On Wednesday, eight Democratic lawmakers pressed the Housing and Urban Development Department to publicly address concerns on the use of facial recognition technology on federally assisted housing facilities. The lawmakers called on the department to review its policies, claiming the current policies may violate fundamental privacy and civil liberty rights. The Democrats also aim to investigate how residents’ biometric data is protected by the department. The lawmakers cited two incidents that may violate privacy, including the implementation of facial recognition technology in New York City without residents’ consent and the availability of facial recognition tech to the Detroit police department as part of a city-wide effort to fight crime. Both incidents occurred within federally assisted housing facilities.

As well as highlighting the situations in NYC and Detriot, the statement includes the issue of discrimination currently present in facial recognition software, such as misidentifying people of color, cisgender individuals, and women. The lawmakers claim that sharing this sensitive biometric data with law enforcement can further exacerbate the vulnerabilities these communities face.

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