ACLU Files Lawsuit Against State’s Labor and Training Dept Regarding Facial Recognition Technology Use (Rhode Island)

By B.N. Frank

Despite increasing American opposition to facial recognition technology and significant risks associated with its use, companies continue to create it and market it to businesses, government agencies, and individuals. (see 1, 2, 3).  The Rhode Island ACLU is demanding proof that one of its state departments won’t be using it.

From Gov Tech:

R.I. Labor Dept., ACLU Collide Over Facial Recognition

Yesterday, the ACLU said it filed a lawsuit against the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training because the agency didn’t respond appropriately to an ACLU records request about facial recognition

(TNS) — The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training has no plans to use facial-recognition technology in any of its programs.

The department’s director, Matthew Weldon, made that statement Tuesday after civil-liberties advocates raised questions about the department’s intentions, citing their inability to obtain documents from the agency.

Earlier this year, the American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island made a public-records request seeking records related to the agency’s “actual or considered usage of facial recognition and identify verification software … in the course of processing unemployment claims.”

On Tuesday, the ACLU announced that it had followed up with a lawsuit seeking the documents.

Soon after, in a statement to The Journal, Weldon promised to provide the requested information.

“We will be in contact with the ACLU’s attorneys on this matter today to clear this issue up and provide the information they have requested,” Weldon said. “We apologize for any confusion we caused and look forward to a quick resolution in the courts.”

Hannah Stern, a policy associate for the ACLU, said the organization believes that Rhode Islanders have a right to know if a government agency is considering the use of facial-recognition technology.

After Weldon’s comments Tuesday, the DLT’s representatives contacted the ACLU, Stern said.

They told the ACLU that DLT has no records regarding any plans for the use of facial recognition because the agency had not considered such use, according to Stern.

“We think that something that should have been communicated to us if that’s not the case,” she said.

Stern emphasized that this isn’t how the DLT responded when the ACLU initially requested the records.

©2021 Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Due to growing pressure, last month Facebook finally agreed to eliminate its facial recognition system and delete data on over 1 billion people.

Activist Post reports regularly about facial recognition and other controversial technology.  For more information, visit our archives.

Image: Full Measure

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