Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) has asked the Department of Justice to examine how law enforcement agencies use facial recognition software, saying that he fears the technology has the potential to “exacerbate and entrench” racial divisions in policing practice due to differing performance in matching people from different demographics, according to BiometricUpdate.
In a letter to acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore — who leads DOJ's Civil Rights Division — Cleaver said that "if not appropriately implemented, use of the technology may threaten the life and liberty of Americans with crushing force."
Cleaver wrote further that there is "a growing body of evidence" that suggests facial recognition may "have the potential to exacerbate and entrench existing policing disparities along racial lines."
Cleaver's letter also took aim at Amazon — makers of facial recognition software, known as Rekognition, which is in use by some police agencies — saying that it was recently reported that the technology is "less accurate for African American subjects" and that Cleaver is "extremely concerned that facial recognition technologies will disproportionately burden African American communities."
According to The Hill, Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Cedric Richmond (D-La.) sent a letter to Amazon in May, voicing concern about potential misuse of the technology.