The Electronic Frontier Foundation wants to know why the government is working on a program to be able to identify people by their tattoos, and keep a database on ths information for future reference. They want to know so badly that they’ve filed a lawsuit to get more information on exactly what this program is. On the surface, it doesn’t sound great for those of us who treasure liberty.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed suit against the Department of Justice, the Department of Commerce, and the Department of Homeland Security today, demanding records about the agencies’ work on the federal Tattoo Recognition Technology program.
This secretive program involves a coalition of government, academia, and private industry working to develop a series of algorithms that would rapidly detect tattoos, identify people via their tattoos, and match people with others who have similar body art—as well as flagging tattoos believed to be connected to religious and ethnic symbols. This type of surveillance raises profound religious, speech, and privacy concerns. Moreover, the limited information that EFF has been able to obtain about the program has already revealed a range of potentially unethical behavior, including conducting research on prisoners without approval, adequate oversight, or safeguards.
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