Facial Recognition Technology (Part II): Ensuring Transparency in Government Use

Tuesday, June 4, 2019 - 10:00am
2154 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515
Facial Recognition Technology (Part II): Ensuring Transparency in Government Use



The hearing will examine the use of facial recognition technology by federal law enforcement entities and the need for oversight and regulation of how this technology is used on American citizens.


  • The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) maintains one of the largest government facial recognition repositories, that includes approximately 36.4 million photos used by the FBI and state and local law enforcement agencies to conduct facial recognition searches in criminal investigations.
  • The Government Accountability Office issued a report concluding that the “FBI has limited information on the accuracy of its face recognition technology capabilities.”
  • The Transportation Security Administration has deployed facial recognition technology in domestic airports in at least three pilot programs, in cooperation with another agency.  However, the accuracy of their systems and the scope of their planned use remains unknown.
  • The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is recognized as the main institution for standardized, independent testing of facial recognition technology. In April 2019, NIST released its draft interagency report evaluating the accuracy of face recognition verification algorithms. While the results showed improvement in facial verification technology capabilities, the accuracy rates for images depicting black and female subjects were consistently lower than for those of white and male subjects.
  • On May 22, 2019, the Committee held its first hearing this year on facial recognition technology that provided a broad overview on how the use of facial recognition technology can impact the civil rights and liberties of individuals across the country.
  • Committee Members showed strong bipartisan support at that hearing for providing transparency and accountability to the use of facial recognition technology.


Ms. Kimberly J. Del Greco
Deputy Assistant Director, Criminal Justice Information Services
Federal Bureau of Investigation

Dr. Gretta L. Goodwin
Director, Homeland Security and Justice
U.S. Government Accountability Office

Mr. Austin Gould
Assistant Administrator, Requirements and Capabilities Analysis
Transportation Security Administration

Dr. Charles H. Romine
Director, Information Technology Laboratory
National Institute of Standards and Technology

116th Congress