New Surveillance Technology Gathers Plenty of Data, but Who Has Access?
For the last two years the San Diego Police Department has been collecting DNA and facial recognition information. According to reporting from the New York Times, this collection requires no paperwork or demonstration of cause. The SDPD also uses automated license plate readers that track cars as they move through the greater San Diego area. Initially the department claimed this data was only available to SDPD. "They later acknowledged that in fact, SDPD does have a say over who shares data with and had, perhaps unwittingly, shared the data with at least 800 other law enforcement departments across the country, including federal law enforcement," Seth Hill Reports for the Voice of San Diego.
The acquisition and use of new technologies can present a host of dangers, even municipalities with the best of intentions may be vulnerable to hacks and the exposure of public data. "Sudden arrivals of unsecured surveillance systems in the hands of untrained police cannot be the way of the future," Hill argues.
The rapid development of facial recognition software makes this danger all the more acute. Because facial recognition software already available from services like Amazon, Hill argues, the federal government needs to create standards for how this technology can be deployed.