ICE Using Facial Recognition Technology on Driver’s License Photos, Researchers Say

ICE agents pour over millions of driver’s license pictures for possible facial recognition matches. According to researchers at Georgetown University Law Center, ICE targets undocumented immigrants with facial recognition technology. News of ICE’s use of facial recognition software on state databases was first reported by The Washington Post.

ICE has taken particular advantage of analyzing license photos from the states that have encouraged undocumented immigrants to obtain legal driver’s licenses. 

Public records, obtained by the Georgetown University Law Center, provided proof that ICE asked for millions of driver’s license photos to be scanned with facial recognition technology in Utah, Vermont and Washington, all states that offer drivers licenses to undocumented immigrants. 

No federal agencies have gotten congressional approval to turn state driver’s license records into a massive database, and the facial recognition searches are taking place without people knowing or approving.

ICE is not the only US federal agency to use face recognition software to state driver records.

A report from the Government Accountability Office that said the FBI’s face recognition office can search the databases of 21 states, with more than 641 million photos.



Photo adapted from: “fred barr” by Fred Barr is licensed under CC BY 2.0