Jonathan McIntosh/Victor Tangermann
Spill It

ACLU Sues FBI For “Dystopian Surveillance Technology” Info

byKristin Houser
11. 1. 19
Jonathan McIntosh/Victor Tangermann

It's also suing the Justice Department and the DEA.

ACLU Lawsuit

In January, the American Civil Liberties Union submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the Justice Department (DOJ), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the FBI asking for any policies, contracts, or records related to the agencies’ use of surveillance tech, such as facial recognition software.

None of the agencies have turned over that information willingly — so the ACLU is now suing them for it.

Fess Up

The ACLU filed a lawsuit in Massachusetts on Thursday, asking a federal court to force the agencies to hand over the information.

“This dystopian surveillance technology threatens to fundamentally alter our free society into one where we’re treated as suspects to be tracked and monitored by the government 24/7,” Kade Crockford, a director at the ACLU office in Massachusetts, wrote in a post announcing the lawsuit.

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Both the DEA and the FBI told The Washington Post they “don’t comment on pending litigation,” while the DOJ declined to comment.

Known Unknown

The ACLU has been one of the most vocal critics of facial recognition tech, but it’s far from alone in opposing its use. Three U.S. cities have already prohibited their law enforcement agencies from using the tech, and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has called for a full federal ban on it.

Still, while we know at least a few places where facial recognition tech isn’t being used, we don’t know for sure everywhere that it is — and hopefully, this ACLU lawsuit will clear up that mystery.

READ MORE: ACLU sues FBI, DOJ over facial-recognition technology, criticizing ‘unprecedented’ surveillance and secrecy [The Washington Post]

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More on surveillance: The City of Oakland Votes to Ban Facial Recognition


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