To show just how invasive facial recognition can be, a new quiz created by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) claims to show you which government agencies might have a photo of your face.
EFF’s online quiz is meant to shine the light on the privacy issues related to facial recognition. The digital privacy nonprofit said it’s nearly impossible to know which agencies are sharing which photos, and with whom.
“Photos you provide for identification are often shared, without your consent, with law enforcement — the FBI, ICE, and others,” EFF warns. “Those agencies use flawed facial-recognition technology to compare your face with those in mugshots, social media images, and other photos of people suspected of committing crimes, potentially putting you at risk of being misidentified and invading your privacy.”
The quiz asks such questions as if you have a driver’s license, if you live in a city of more than 100,000 people, and if you have a passport. Based on your answers, the quiz will generate which government agencies are most likely to have your face on file.
EFF worked with the Center on Privacy and Technology at Georgetown Law to create the quiz by reviewing thousands of public records to find out what government photos are shared with which agencies for facial-recognition purposes.
Organizations like EFF that are opposed to the use of facial recognition have pushed companies and government agencies that use the technology to be more transparent.
In October, the American Civil Liberties Union sued the Department of Justice, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the FBI for failure to reveal how facial-recognition software is used.
Others also argue that facial-recognition software is inherently racist against people of color. A Massachusetts Institute of Technology study from 2018 found that facial-analysis software is more likely to misidentify people of color, particularly women of color.
Last July, Fight for the Future called for a complete ban on facial-recognition surveillance software, specifically for government use, due to racial inequalities of the technology. Months before, the city of San Francisco banned the use of facial recognition by city agencies, including police departments.
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