• Read the report here.
  • National ACLU statement here.

Honolulu, Hawai‘i: Together with the ACLU national office and other affiliates, we welcome the Center on Privacy & Technology and Georgetown Law’s comprehensive report on government use of facial recognition technology in the United States. The report reveals that local governments’ use of this technology is—like the use of other modern surveillance technologies—pervasive, secret, and unregulated.

The rapidly growing use of surveillance technologies by the government is quickly outpacing the public’s ability to understand, debate, and regulate such technologies.  Unchecked use of surveillance technologies threatens our fundamental civil rights and civil liberties and is no longer acceptable.

As shown in the report, Honolulu (with published usage rules and relying solely on a mugshot database) is ahead of the curve, since the use of facial recognition technology elsewhere is mostly secretive and unregulated. Much remains to be done in Hawai‘i though:

First, local communities together with counties and city councils need to be involved in making policy decisions about the funding, acquisition, and use of all surveillance technologies. The national push for Department of Justice investigation is also important, but local voices and community-led limitations are equally valuable in reigning in potential abuses.

Second, the policies adopted need to ensure the narrowly targeted use of surveillance and to prevent abuse.

Third, mandated audits are needed to verify legal compliance and root out any form of racial bias.

We look forward to working with local communities and authorities to ensure that the use of facial recognition technology and other surveillance technologies in Hawai‘i is regulated, transparent, and well-informed. If you would like to get involved in the ACLU’s initiative for the community to take control over police surveillance, please reach out to Mandy Finlay at legislative@acluhawaii.org.