EFF Sues FBI: Hey Before You Launch New Face Recognition Tool, Can You Respond To Our FOIA On Old Tool?
from the just-saying dept
The folks over at EFF have now sued the FBI concerning a set of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests that the FBI has failed to respond to concerning its use of various biometric tools, such as face recognition. The EFF finds this to be especially pernicious, since the FBI has gleefully announced plans to expand these efforts, without any information or public debate on how its existing programs have worked (or, as the case may be, not worked):
In the complaint filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, EFF is asking a judge to enforce EFF's FOIA requests, which were sent to the FBI in June and July of last year. The information sought includes agreements and discussions between the FBI and various state agencies regarding the face-recognition program; records addressing the reliability of face-recognition technology; and documentation of the FBI's plan to merge civilian and criminal records in a single repository. EFF is also seeking disclosure of the total number of face-recognition capable records currently in the FBI's database, as well as the proposed number at deployment.
NGI will have an unprecedented impact on Americans' privacy interests, and yet the FBI has not updated its Privacy Impact Assessment since 2008, well before it built the system and signed agreements with several states for an early roll-out of the program.
"Before the federal government decides to expand its surveillance powers, there needs to be a public debate," Lynch says. "But there can be no public debate until the details of the program are presented to the public."
Yet again, with our intelligence agencies, it appears that the federal government seems to feel that it can do whatever it wants, and any attempt to answer to the public is to be ignored at all costs.