ICE Releases Report on Addressing Facial Recognition Tech Risks

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released a report on the risks associated with using facial recognition services (FRS) for law enforcement and how the agency mitigates the abuse of such technologies.

ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) unit said in its report dated May 13 that ICE submits FRS-taken images of suspected individuals to third-party vendors in cases where the collected data does not match with any identifiable information.

According to HSI’s privacy impact assessment, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) periodically audits employees’ use of FRS to ensure regulatory compliance and will only procure FRS technologies from approved commercial entities. However, ICE may use uncertified FRS tools in "exigent circumstances”, according to the report.

HSI noted that ICE only submits the "minimum amount of information necessary” for authorities and their commercial partners to produce a result for biometric queries. 

Risks highlighted in the report include inaccurate third-party database information, reliance on low-quality imagery and potential use of FRS images for activities beyond the intended scope. 

“While the technology itself does have far reaching privacy implications, HSI has established processes and procedures to mitigate the impact of an FRS on individuals,” the report states. “Through proper collection techniques, candidate vetting, and supervisor oversight, HSI endeavors to use FRSs in as much of a privacy sensitive manner as possible.”

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