Albuquerque PD Praised for Restraint in Face-Image Tech

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Your face might have even been a possible match in one of the FBI’s 240 facial recognition searches of New Mexico licenses this year alone, but you wouldn’t know it. New Mexico is one of 16 states that allows the FBI to search its driver’s license database, according to a recent report from Georgetown Law’s Center on Privacy and Technology. While the report, The Perpetual Line-Up, raised alarm about this practice nationwide, it praised Albuquerque police as the top department for restraint and noted it was among the “few agencies that have instituted meaningful protections to prevent the misuse of the technology,” according to the Albuquerque Journal.

The technology allows investigators to match images from a photo or a surveillance video to databases of mug shots and driver’s licenses with accompanying identifying information. Law enforcement advocates have credited the technology with helping solve crimes, while civil rights monitors have warned that the technology is a gateway for unconstitutional government surveillance. The report surveyed 100 police departments across the nation, analyzing how each uses–and controls abuse of–facial recognition technology. T.J. Wilham, director of the Albuquerque police Real Time Crime Center, said the department created protocols to rein in the potential abuse of facial recognition technology.

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