Members of US Congress ask clarifications on use of facial recognition in federally assisted housing

In a letter addressed to the Secretary of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), eighth members of the US Congress have asked for clarifications regarding the deployment of facial recognition technology (FRT) in federally assisted properties. Making reference to news reports about the installation of FRT in such properties, they emphasise that ‘when public housing and federally assisted property owners install facial recognition security camera systems, they could be used to enable invasive, unnecessary and harmful government surveillance of their residents’. The lawmakers also noted that residents ‘should not have to compromise their civil rights and liberties nor accept the condition of indiscriminate, sweeping government surveillance to find an affordable place to live’. Finally, they asked HUD to clarify how many subsidised housing properties have used FRT over the past five years, what policies have been implemented to ensure that residents enjoy their rights, and whether there is scientific data demonstrating that the use of FRT improves safety.