In June, the Government Accountability Office released a report criticizing the FBI’s facial recognition programs as privacy invasive, untested, and secretive. The GAO report got a decent amount of coverage, particularly in the independent and tech press. Included in the report was a map showing which states had agreements with the FBI’s FACE Unit to share mugshots and drivers license images for facial recognition scans, and which states were “under negotiations” with the FBI to establish such agreements. Massachusetts was listed among the latter states (see below). That was the first I’d ever heard of the Massachusetts RMV engaging in negotiations to share drivers license images with the FBI. Alarmed, I filed a public records request with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to learn more about these negotiations.
Then something bizarre happened.
On August 3 2016, the GAO published a modified version of its report. The only thing in the report that changed was Figure 4, the map revealing that states including Massachusetts were involved in negotiations with the FBI, presumably to allow the Bureau to begin performing facial recognition searches of state RMV records. The map initially stated that 18 states, including Massachusetts, were involved in these negotiations. The “corrected” map (see below) says there are “no negotiations underway” in these 18 states—a 180 degree reversal.
Read more on PrivacySOS.
h/t, Joe Cadillic