EPIC Opposes DHS’s Plans to Broadly Expand Biometric Collection

October 14, 2020

In comments to the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, EPIC urged the agency to rescind a proposed rule to broadly permit DHS to collect biometric from immigrants, their families, and associates. DHS's rule would enable the collection of palm prints, iris images, voiceprints, DNA, and images for facial recognition. EPIC argued that DHS's broad authorization of biometric collection was incompatible with the department's Fair Information Practice Principles. EPIC also specifically called on the agency to suspend the use of facial recognition technology. EPIC previously urged DHS to extend the comment period on this NPRM from 30 days to a standard 60-days for major rulemakings. EPIC consistently opposes biometric collection at DHS. In April EPIC urged DHS to narrow both the use and Privacy Act exemptions for its Insider Threat Database linking biometrics to personal information. Earlier this year, EPIC, joined by over 40 organizations called for the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board to recommend the suspension of face surveillance systems across the federal government.

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