Police Increasingly Using State Photo-ID Databases

The faces of more than 120 million people are in searchable photo databases that state officials assembled to prevent driver’s-license fraud but that increasingly are used by police to identify suspects, accomplices and even innocent bystanders in a wide range of criminal investigations.
June 17, 2013

The faces of more than 120 million Americans are in searchable photo databases that state officials have assembled to prevent driver’s-license fraud but they are increasingly used by police in a wide range of criminal investigations.

The facial databases have grown rapidly in recent years and generally operate with few legal safeguards beyond the requirement that searches are conducted for “law enforcement purposes.” Amid concerns over the National Security Agency’s high-tech surveillance aimed at foreigners, they are receiving fresh scrutiny.

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