US government agencies plan to increase their use of facial recognition technology

The US Government Accountability Office (GAO), in a 90-page report, details federal agencies' current use of facial recognition systems and plans to expand this use. Ten of the 24 agencies that were surveyed intend to expand their use of facial recognition technology by 2023. Ten agencies also invest in research and development of the technology.
This report is the result of a congressional study on facial recognition use by federal agencies during fiscal year 2020. The report describes facial recognition as becoming more common in federal agencies, with the majority of those surveyed using it to protect their physical security, domestic law enforcement or cybersecurity. All agencies that took part in the study were asked about their future plans regarding facial recognition.

After a year of backlash by privacy and civil liberty advocates against the use of technology by police and the government, the results are finally in. Facial recognition is less accurate for people with darker skin than women and people younger and older. GAO also reported earlier this summer that federal law enforcement agencies are not adequately monitoring the use of the technology.

18 of the 24 federal agencies that were surveyed use facial recognition, and many agencies have more than one system. Federal agencies that use facial recognition were not included in this report. Also, no comprehensive survey of government use of facial recognition technology was done. The majority of systems used by the surveyed agencies are federally owned. Six systems, however, come from commercial vendors, including Clearview AI and Vigilant Solutions.

Commerce, Defense, Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, Commerce, Commerce, Defense, Homeland Security, Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, Justice, State, Treasury, Veterans Affairs, and Veterans Affairs plan to increase their facial recognition use between 2020 and 2023. These 10 agencies have 17 facial recognition systems. The agencies will own 13 of the systems, while two will be owned locally by law enforcement. Clearview AI is used by two agencies.