Same Problem, Different Day: Government Accountability Office Updates Its Review of FBI’s Use of Face Recognition—and It’s Still Terrible

Same Problem, Different Day: Government Accountability Office Updates Its Review of FBI’s Use of Face Recognition—and It’s Still Terrible By Jennifer Lynch This week the federal Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued an update to its 2016 report on the FBI’s use of face recognition. The takeaway, which they also shared during a Congressional House Oversight Committee hearing: the FBI now has access to 641 million photos—including driver’s license and ID photos—but it still refuses to assess the accuracy of its systems. According to the latest GAO Report, FBI’s Facial Analysis,…

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Google’s Sensorvault Can Tell Police Where You’ve Been

Google’s Sensorvault Can Tell Police Where You’ve Been By Jennifer Lynch Do you know where you were five years ago? Did you have an Android phone at the time? It turns out Google might know—and it might be telling law enforcement. In a new article, the New York Times details a little-known technique increasingly used by law enforcement to figure out everyone who might have been within certain geographic areas during specific time periods in the past. The technique relies on detailed location data collected by Google from most Android…

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Your Fourth Amendment Rights Should Not be Limited by Terms of Service

Your Fourth Amendment Rights Should Not be Limited by Terms of Service By Jennifer Lynch Last week, we filed an amicus brief in U.S. v. Wilson, a federal appellate case, in which we argued that email providers’ terms of service can’t limit your Fourth Amendment rights. This is the second brief we’ve filed in less than a year addressing this important point. Email and other electronic communications can contain highly personal, intimate details of our lives. As one court noted, through emails, “[l]overs exchange sweet nothings, and businessmen swap ambitious…

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Victory! Illinois Supreme Court Protects Biometric Privacy

Victory! Illinois Supreme Court Protects Biometric Privacy By Jennifer Lynch and Adam Schwartz The Illinois Supreme Court has ruled unanimously that when companies collect biometric data like fingerprints or face prints without informed opt-in consent, they can be sued. Users don’t need to prove an injury like identity fraud or physical harm—just losing control of one’s biometric privacy is injury enough. In Rosenbach v. Six Flags, a 14 year old brought a challenge against an amusement park for collecting his thumbprint without his informed consent, in violation of Illinois law.…

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Victory! Supreme Court Says Fourth Amendment Applies to Cell Phone Tracking

Victory! Supreme Court Says Fourth Amendment Applies to Cell Phone Tracking By Andrew Crocker and Jennifer Lynch The Supreme Court handed down a landmark opinion today in Carpenter v. United States, ruling 5-4 that the Fourth Amendment protects cell phone location information. In an opinion by Justice Roberts, the Court recognized that location information, collected by cell providers like Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon, creates a “detailed chronicle of a person’s physical presence compiled every day, every moment over years.” As a result, police must now get a warrant before obtaining…

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HART: Homeland Security’s Massive New Database Will Include Face Recognition, DNA, and People’s “Non-Obvious Relationships”

HART: Homeland Security’s Massive New Database Will Include Face Recognition, DNA, and People’s “Non-Obvious Relationships” By Jennifer Lynch So why do we know so little about it? The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is quietly building what will likely become the largest database of biometric and biographic data on citizens and foreigners in the United States. The agency’s new Homeland Advanced Recognition Technology (HART) database will include multiple forms of biometrics—from face recognition to DNA, data from questionable sources, and highly personal data on innocent people. It will be…

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