Police are increasingly turning to biometric technology in the field. It’s supposed to help cops verify the identities of suspects, but there’s a real concern they could misuse it to obtain recorded personal information – and the Electronic Frontier Foundation wants you to know when this material could come into play. The rights group has published a report detailing the biometric scanners used by California law enforcement, and they’re more widely used than you might think. Mobile fingerprint readers are used in several departments and facial recognition is gaining ground. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is using tattoo recognition, and some police departments are investigating iris scanning.
This is not a complete list, at least not yet. Some departments (such as the LAPD and San Francisco) are still working on EFF information requests, while many others cannot find leaked documents describing what they use. Three (Bakersfield, Sacramento and San Bernardino) acknowledged nothing. Still, it could serve as a valuable warning if you’re worried that a routine traffic check could land you in a database.
[Image credit: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images]
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