ICE Use of Facial Recognition Software and NY Drivers’ Licenses: Do Not Be Afraid!

Image courtesy of the Department of Homeland Security

A short while after I read in the Washington Post that ICE is using facial recognition software to review other states’ DMV photo data bases to identify undocumented immigrants that they were seeking to arrest, I got a call from News12 to give a statement on the subject. Here is what I said:

First, what ICE did in Vermont and two other states is disgraceful. People in those states did not authorize their state DMVs to share that information with ICE. We should not be living in a country where any state shares confidential data without a person’s permission. In these situations, ICE did not have a court order or the permission of the drivers, the states simply released the data.
Second, New York State’s new Green Light legislation strictly prohibits disclosure of applicant photos by the DMV without lawful court order, judicial warrant, or subpoena. This means ICE could not simply conduct a mass search of our state’s DMV photos. The other point I emphasized is that ICE can only access state databases if that state allows it, which NYS should simply not do under any circumstances.

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