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O'Big Brother Where Art Thou?: The Constitutional Use of Facial-Recognition Technology

Byline:

Susan McCoy

Issue:

VOL. XX • Spring 2002 • NO. 3 (table of contents)

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Abstract:

How to balance the protection of personal privacy and security in light of the use of facial recognition technology? The author argues that the use of facial recognition technology does not violate individual's Fourth Amendment rights to privacy.

First, there is no reasonable expectation of privacy in public places. Second, the database used only contains the identities of known criminal and terrorists. Third, facial recognition technology only facilitates existing methods of screening and comparing mug shots of known criminals on the street.

With these arguments, the author proposes suggestions to legislations that cover facial recognition or other biometric technologies. In particular, the author argues that the legislation must define the scope in such a way the technology can be used effectively while not putting individual's privacy at risk. Furthermore, Congress should be the sole authority in establishing the regulations to ensure effective and efficient enforcement.

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