The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (“LDF”) submitted a letter to the U.S. House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security in connection with the July 13, 2021 hearing held by the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security titled “Facial Recognition Technology: Examining Its Use by Law Enforcement.” The letter outlines the disproportionate threat that facial recognition technology imposes on communities of color when used by law enforcement. Historically and present-day law enforcement practices have disproportionately criminalized Black and brown communities. Law enforcement officers and agencies should not be permitted to use facial recognition technology. Law enforcement use of facial recognition technology risks disproportionately exposing Black and brown people to misidentification and perpetuates heightened surveillance of their communities. Its use creates a great risk that communities of color will increasingly be wrongly identified and subject to disparate criminal enforcement. The use of facial recognition technology will likely subject communities to a “surveillance state” where law enforcement monitors and tracks their movements, associations en masse, and chills their dissent. Law enforcement’s expansive use of facial recognition technology is largely hidden allowing police to collect, disclose, and run an individual’s personal information against multiple databases without their knowledge, implicating privacy concerns and leaving impacted victims unable to contest or remedy resulting harms.

Read the full letter here.


Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization. LDF has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF. Follow LDF on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.