S.T.O.P. Condemns NYPD for Using Sealed Mugshot in Facial Recognition Database


For Immediate Release

S.T.O.P. Condemns NYPD for Using Sealed Mugshot in Facial Recognition Database

[NEW YORK, NY, 8/27/2019] -- Today, the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (S.T.O.P.), a New York-based privacy group,, condemned the NYPD for illegally including at least one sealed mugshot in its facial recognition database.  Use of the sealed mugshot in the NYPD facial recognition database is a violation of NY CPL § 160.50, which requires the NYPD to destroy mugshots once a defendant is acquitted of their charges.
SEE: EXCLUSIVE: The NYPD Is Using Sealed Mug Shots in Its Facial Recognition Program
NY CPL § 160.50

“We’ve long opposed facial recognition, but now that the NYPD is clearly breaking the law, elected officials must act,” said Albert Cahn, Executive Director of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project at the Urban Justice Center. “Not only does the NYPD’s program violate defendants’ constitutional rights, it’s just bad science. Facial recognition is much less accurate for New Yorkers of color, putting countless New Yorkers at risk of false arrest. We call on the NYPD to end this program and to ban any future biometric surveillance. We must not allow facial recognition to become a digital stop-and-frisk program.”
The New York privacy group is a lead proponent of the Public Oversight of Surveillance Technology (POST) Act, a city council bill that would require privacy protections for facial recognition and other forms of surveillance. The bill is awaiting a hearing before the Public Safety committee and has been co-sponsored by a majority of council members.
Bill Text

S.T.O.P. also previously spoke out in support of a proposed New York State ban on facial recognition in schools. The group also previously called on New York lawmakers to follow the lead of cities like San Francisco, which banned facial recognition completely.
SEE: S.T.O.P. Condemns NYPD Facial Recognition Database for Children
S.T.O.P. Welcomes San Francisco Facial Recognition Ban, Urges NY To Enact Same

The Surveillance Technology Oversight Project is a non-profit advocacy organization and legal services provider hosted by the Urban Justice Center. S.T.O.P. litigates and advocates for privacy, fighting excessive local and state-level surveillance. Our work highlights the discriminatory impact of surveillance on Muslim Americans, immigrants, and communities of color.
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CONTACT: STOP Executive Director Albert Fox Cahn; 

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