We are advocating for a moratorium on the use of facial recognition technology in Massachusetts and the recent hearing at the state house demonstrated that there is a lot of support for it. However, efforts to adopt this technology by police often goes unnoticed or is hidden from public view. Thankfully, MuckRock and Open the Government have setup a system to use FOIA requests to find out whether police are using facial recognition technology and how.
Only four requests have been filed in Massachusetts so far (my own for Somerville isn’t up there yet): Boston, Brookline, Woburn and Worcester. That leaves over 300 cities and towns we can file FOIA requests in.
The process is easy:
- Go to their project page
- Fill out the form at the bottom of the page
- Complete any steps they have to create an account
That’s it. It will email your request and send followup emails until the police department sends the information you requested. If you already have an account, please login first before you go to their project page.
This is a nationwide effort, so if you live outside of Massachusetts you can still file for your own community or even a community in Massachusetts.
This effort is a very easy way to help the effort to stop facial recognition technology in Massachusetts and around the country. Please take a few minutes to fill out the form and, if you want, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org telling us you submitted a FOIA request and in what community.