Senators Press DHS For Overdue Report on Biometric Tech Use

Sens. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Mike Lee, R-Utah, pressed the Department of Homeland Security in a July 26 letter to deliver an overdue report on biometric identification technology viability.  That report, the senators said, was due to be delivered on July 2.

In the letter, the senators cited their previous calls for DHS transparency on collection of biometric data, and how component agencies including U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will continue expanding deployment of facial recognition technology deployment at airports.

Sens. Markey and Lee also highlighted facial recognition technology privacy risks in a reported data breach of a CBP subcontractor, which resulted “in the exposure of tens of thousands of peoples’ data.”

The senators have requested that DHS pause its use of biometric data technologies until DHS formalizes rules that address privacy and security concerns.

“We believe that the report you are legally required to submit is intended to provide transparency to Congress and the public on the future use of this technology, enabling Congress to exercise appropriate oversight and to inform future legislative action,” Sens. Markey and Lee said. “Not producing this report stymies our ability to complete this work for the benefit of the American people,” they said.

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