Committee to Examine the Impact of Facial Recognition Technology on Civil Rights and Liberties

May 21, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. (May 21, 2019)—On Wednesday, May 22, 2019, the Committee will hold a hearing on “Facial Recognition Technology (Part 1): Its Impact on our Civil Rights and Liberties.”


WHERE:  2154 Rayburn House Office Building


WHEN:  Wednesday, May 22, 2019


TIME:  10:00 a.m.


A livestream will be broadcast here




  • The hearing will examine the use of facial recognition technology by government and commercial entities and the need for oversight on how this technology is used on civilians.  


  • Facial recognition technology uses an automated process to analyze faces captured in images and video to identify or confirm the identity of individuals.  There are currently no federal regulations regarding the use of facial recognition technology for commercial or government use.


  • The use of facial recognition technology by the government poses potential questions of constitutionality under the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments.  These questions are yet untested as the Supreme Court has not directly ruled upon the constitutionality of police use of facial recognition technology upon citizens.


  • During the 115th Congress, the Committee launched an investigation into federal law enforcement’s use of facial recognition technology.  The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report recommending that the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) make numerous changes to its facial recognition database to improve its data security and ensure privacy, accuracy, and transparency.  In April 2019, GAO released a letter to the Department of Justice highlighting six priority open recommendations that the FBI has yet to implement fully. 


  • During a 2017 hearing, the Committee found that 18 states have memorandums of understanding with the FBI to share their databases with the federal agency and that, as a result, over half of American adults are part of a facial recognition database.  


  • The Committee also found that facial recognition technology misidentifies women and minorities and a much higher rate than white males, increasing the risk of racial and gender bias.




Joy Buolamwini


Algorithmic Justice League


Andrew Ferguson

Professor of Law

University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law


Clare Garvie

Senior Associate

Center on Privacy and Technology, Georgetown University Law Center


Neema Singh Guliani

Senior Legislative Counsel

American Civil Liberties Union


Dr. Cedric Alexander

Former President

National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives


116th Congress