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

May 22, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. (May 22, 2019)—Today, Chairman Elijah E. Cummings convened a hearing on “Facial Recognition Technology (Part 1):  Its Impact on our Civil Rights and Liberties.”




  • Committee Members on both sides of the aisle showed strong bipartisan support for providing transparency and accountability to the use of facial recognition technology in the interest of preserving the civil rights and liberties of individuals across the country.


  • The witnesses discussed a need for government oversight and regulation of the use of facial recognition technology—both by government entities and private organizations—on American citizens.


  • Andrew Ferguson, a Professor of Law at the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law, testified that the warrantless use of facial recognition technology by police departments across the country at protests, traffic stops, and minority communities raises grave concerns about intrusions into First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights of the Constitution.


  • Joy Buolamwini, the founder of the Algorithmic Justice League, testified that the inaccuracy rates in the current state of this technology—particularly when assessing women, youth, and people of color—create the risk that vulnerable communities will be disparately impacted by its use.


  • During his opening statement, Chairman Cummings announced that on June 4 the Committee will have its second hearing on this topic and will hear from law enforcement witnesses. 




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



Watch Chairman Cummings’ opening statement.


Watch Rep. Connolly’s question line.  


Watch Rep. Pressley’s question line.


116th Congress