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California police use these biometric scanners

Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
November 4, 2015
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Police are increasingly turning to biometric tech in the field. It's supposed to help cops verify the identity of suspects, but there's a real concern that they could abuse this to get personal details on record -- and the Electronic Frontier Foundation wants you to know when this hardware might come into play. The rights group has published a report detailing the biometric scanners in use by California law enforcement, and they're in more widespread use than you might think. Mobile fingerprint readers are in use at several departments, and face recognition is getting traction. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is using tattoo recognition, and some police departments are looking into iris scanning.

This isn't a complete list, at least not yet. Some departments (such as the LAPD and San Francisco) are still working on the EFF's information requests, while numerous others can't find disclosable records that outline what they're using. Three (Bakersfield, Sacramento and San Bernardino) haven't acknowledged anything. Still, this could serve as a valuable heads-up if you're worried that a routine traffic stop could put you in a database.

[Image credit: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images]

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