Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and FBI agents have been using photos from state driver’s license databases for facial recognition without people’s consent or knowledge, according to the Washington Post.
The practice was discovered by the Georgetown Law’s Center on Privacy and Technology after filing public information act requests. Utah and Vermont, both states where driver’s licenses are allowed for undocumented immigrants, complied with ICE’s requests to look their records of drivers licenses, the New York Times reported.
Driver’s license databases in the state of Washington were also searched and used by ICE, but it is uncertain whether the state authorized this.
These states did not inform undocumented immigrants that by obtaining a driver’s license, they were showing ICE their face.
There was no approval from Congress or any of the state legislatures allowing this practice.
This is the first known instance in which ICE has used facial recognition technology to scan through these databases, according to the New York Times.
However, last year, Amazon reportedly marketed a facial recognition software, “Rekognition” to officials from ICE, according to the ACLU.
The FBI has been searching and using information from state law enforcement’s databases, including those with driver’s license application records, for over a decade, according to a report from the Government Accountability Office that was released last month.
Many states allow law enforcement officials to request searches of driver’s license databases.