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In late October 2016, the Data Privacy Detective met with Joe Tomain, a visiting lecturer at Indiana University Law School and fellow of Indiana University Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research. Joe discussed facial recognition technology and particularly two of the FIPPs, or Fair Information Practice Principles – a set of principles that are rooted in the tenets of the Privacy Act of 1974, and which make up the guidelines that represent widely accepted concepts concerning fair information practice in the electronic marketplace.

The FIPPs were built on the 1973 Department of Health Education’s report “Records, Computers and Rights of Citizens,” which discussed the changes that could result from “using computers to keep records about people” and the growing concern about the harmful consequences of uncontrolled application of computer and telecommunications technology. The principles remain prevalent in federal, state and international privacy regulation today.

Just recently, however, the Georgetown Center on Privacy and Technology issued the “Perpetual Lineup,” a report disclosing that more than half of U.S. adults are in various facial recognition databases. According to the report, of 52 law enforcement agencies that acknowledged using facial recognition technology, only one had received legislative approval to do so. From 2013 to 2015 at least 325 officers were fired, forced to resign, or suspended for misuse of database information.