ResourceOctober 27 2015

Data & Civil Rights: Biometric Technologies in Policing

Robyn Caplan,
Ifeoma Ajunwa,
Alex Rosenblat,
danah boyd

Biometric technologies are rapidly finding use in a variety of policing contexts, and their use is expected to grow as these technologies become more accurate, cost-effective and accessible to law enforcement agencies. Since 2008, the FBI has been assembling a new biometrics database, the Next Generation Identification system (NGI), since 2008. This $1 billion program will combine fingerprints, iris scans, facial recognition, voice data and other biometrics into a multimodal database, greatly expanding the amount of data searchable by federal and state agencies. Other existing biometric databases such as the National DNA Index System may be interoperable with this system. At the same time, new technologies, as well as new laws and regulations, have widened the conditions under which law enforcement agencies can collect, store, and share biometric data.

This document is a workshop primer from Data & Civil Rights: A New Era of Policing and Justice.

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