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Lawmakers Urge HUD to Address Facial Recognition Tech in Public Housing

Democratic lawmakers are calling on the Department of Housing and Urban Development to provide information on its deployment of facial recognition technology and how it ensures that citizens retain their civil rights.

The letter to HUD Secretary Ben Carson sought information on public housing and federally assisted properties, including policies implemented to regulate facial recognition technology and research conducted to support its deployment.

The lawmakers also asked Carson to provide a list of federally assisted properties that deploy facial recognition over the past five years by Jan. 24, 2020.

According to the letter, scientific studies have proven that facial recognition “misidentifies many individuals” and exacerbates risk to vulnerable communities when the data is shared with law enforcement entities.

The letter comes after reports that facial recognition has been installed in public housing units in Detroit and New York. The lawmakers noted that such technologies “could be used to enable invasive, unnecessary and harmful government surveillance of their residents.”

The eight signatories are Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Cory Booker, D-N.J., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Edward Markey, D-Mass.; and Reps. Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y., Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass.

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