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Groups Join FFTF Effort to Ban Facial Recognition Searches

More than two dozen advocacy groups have joined in a Fight-for the Future-led effort to face down facial recognition, according to that group.

The swelling ranks of biometric pushbackers, which include MoveOn, Color of Change, CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) and Greenpeace, want Congress to ban outright the use of facial recognition for surveillance.

Related: FFTF Calls for Ban on Facial Recognition Software

They argue it is "unreliable, biased, and a threat to basic rights and safety" and rather than impose weak regulations on law enforcement use of the technology, they argue a ban is the only solution.

"No amount of regulation can fix the dangers inherent in this form Big Brother automaton," says Fight for the Future (FFTF) deputy director Evan Greer. "We need to ban this technology outright, treat it like biological or nuclear weapons, and prevent it from proliferating before it’s too late," she said.

FFTF said the groups that have signed on represent 15 million members combined, who will be encouraged to "flood" members of Congress, who are returning from their August recess next week, with emails and calls.

FTF's campaign followed reports that ICE and other agencies have been conducting "warrantless facial recognition searches" of DMV databases. It also followed reports on how inaccurate such searches can be.

Related: Pew: Majority OK With Law Enforcement Use of Facial Recognition

In July, the House Homeland Security Committee held a hearing on government use of biometrics. Chairman Bennie Thompson pointed out that the ACLU last year had tested Amazon’s Rekognition facial recognition tool and, after creating a database of arrest photos, searched pictures of every member of Congress. "The software incorrectly matched 28 members with individuals who had criminal records," Thompson said. "Although the misidentified members included both Democrats and Republicans, men and women, and a wide range of ages, nearly 40 percent of the false matches were people of color. This is unacceptable."

The groups definitely agree.