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GAO Reports on Federal Use of Facial Recognition Tech Systems

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Facial Recognition
Facial Recognition Technology

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) surveyed 24 Chief Financial Officers Act agencies on their use of facial recognition technology (FRT) in fiscal year 2020 and found that 18 of those agencies reported using FRT for one or several purposes.

GAO said in a report published Tuesday 16 agencies said they are using the technology for cybersecurity or digital access. Of those 16 agencies, the General Services Administration (GSA) and the Social Security Administration (SSA) reported performing pilots to test FRT systems for identity verification of people accessing government websites.

Six agencies, including departments of Homeland Security, Justice and Defense, reported using FRT systems to come with leads in criminal investigations, while five agencies said they used the technology for physical security purposes. GAO also found that 10 agencies said they supported FRT-related research and development activities in FY 2020.

“Furthermore, ten agencies reported plans to expand their use of FRT through fiscal year 2023. For example, an agency plans to pilot the use of FRT to automate the identity verification process at airports for travelers,” the GAO report reads.