The United States is covered with surveillance cameras that law enforcement can use to track people, but new technology has opened the door to new levels of tracking that use biometric data to identify people. There are many police departments throughout the country that have access to such technology and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has joined forces with MuckRock to find out which department’s actually use it and how often.
New law enforcement technology involves biometric data: scanning and analyzing unique features on a person to identify him or her through surveillance or other footage. With a camera on practically every street corner in America, cops could essentially track suspects’ daily lives. Some police departments already have access to this technology — from scanning irises to recognizing tattoos — and can access them via a mobile device to use at any time. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and public records hound MuckRock want to shine a light on this practice, which has very little transparency: “There is no central list that shows which police agencies have these devices or a uniform set of policies for how they must be used. So, EFF and MuckRock have partnered up to conduct a census of sorts. We’re seeking your help to file public records requests with local law enforcement agencies around the country to shine light on mobile biometric technologies.”