We studied the (1) Deployment of face recognition technology—namely how many agencies use face recognition, how often they use it, and the risk level of those uses. We also studied the measures that agencies and other stakeholders apply to protect (2) our Fourth Amendment rights and (3) our right to Free speech, and evaluated the steps they took to protect against (4) Accuracy problems and the potential for (5) Racial bias in error rates and in use more generally. Finally, we studied the (6) Transparency & Accountability provisions in place at agencies using the technology.
This section outlines our top-level findings in each of these areas. In our Face Recognition Scorecard we evaluate how each of 25 specific agencies performs in these same fields. The criteria for the scores are described in their corresponding subsections. Two of the subsections, Deployment and Transparency & Accountability, are measured with two separate scores, whereas one subsection, Racial Bias, is not scored at all. (Our full scorecard Methodology can be seen below.)
Before proceeding further, a disclaimer is in order. Our findings are based on 15,000 pages of documents provided in response to over 100 records requests. Many of those records were partial, redacted, or otherwise incomplete. We have made extensive efforts to give state and local police departments the ability to review and correct our conclusions regarding their face recognition systems, but it is inevitable that errors and misunderstandings will occur. We invite agencies to contact the authors with corrections and clarifications—and improvements to their systems—so that this report may be updated accordingly.