New Data on Law Enforcement Use of Clearview Added to Map Tracking Use of Facial Recognition Across the U.S.

Posted April 8, 2021, 1:03 PM


Contact: Caitlin Seeley George


With more data on where facial recognition is used, the urgency for legislation banning government and law enforcement use of facial recognition heightens.

Earlier this week, BuzzFeed News broke the story that employees at law enforcement agencies across the country have run thousands of facial recognition searches using the controversial Clearview AI app. The investigative research included data from a confidential source that shows nearly 2,000 agencies that have used the application in some fashion.

This data has now been added to the Ban Facial Recognition Map:

This interactive map, created by digital rights group Fight for the Future, shows where facial recognition surveillance is happening, how it’s spreading, and where there are efforts to rein it in. It is also a resource for people to take action and send messages to their lawmakers, calling on them to ban law enforcement and government use of the technology.

With the addition of this data on Clearview use, all 50 states, except Vermont—the only state that has banned law enforcement use of facial recognition, plus DC and the Virgin Islands, are represented on the map.

The states with the most taxpayer-funded entities that have used Clearview are:

  • California* (140)
  • Florida (116)
  • Alabama (103)
  • New Jersey (101)
  • Texas (100)
  • Illinois (99)
  • Georgia (72)
  • North Carolina (64)
  • Pennsylvania* (63)
  • New York (61)

*States with local bans on law enforcement use of facial recognition

"Although it’s terrifying to add nearly 2,000 more places to our map where we know facial recognition is threatening communities, this data highlights what we already know: that law enforcement is using facial recognition in ways that fundamentally threaten any semblance of human rights, due process, and exacerbate existing discrimination. The only way to stop this is to ban it," said Caitlin Seeley George, director of campaigns and operations at Fight for the Future. "Since officers often use Clearview without their department’s knowledge or consent, this is the first time we’ve seen how widespread this use is. It’s clear that no amount of regulations can protect us when officers are already using Clearview in secret. The only solution is a ban."

The good news is that cities, counties, and states are taking action to combat law enforcement use of facial recognition and are banning the technology. In the past few months Minneapolis, MN, Madison, WI, and New Orleans, LA have banned facial recognition. Last year Senators Markey and Merkley and Representatives Jayapal and Pressley introduced federal legislation to ban law enforcement and government use of facial recognition, and they are expected to reintroduce the legislation again this year.