Ban facial recognition technologies use on students, faculty, and staff

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We’re writing to request the University of Colorado System ban the use of facial recognition and detection technologies (referred to hereafter as FRT) by any CU institution, in all educational settings, online and in-person.

FRT are invasive, biased, and violate the privacy of students, faculty, and staff. They exacerbate discrimination and put our safety at risk. Several studies have shown that FRT inconsistently identifies Black people, trans people, and misidentifies non-binary people 100% of the time. FRT systems often share data with law enforcement agencies that have used FRT to target undocumented immigrants, surveil protesters, and communities of color. FRT systems can sell or share biometric data with for-profit companies and federal agencies without the consent of the people being whose faces are scanned. 

Diversity, Inclusion, Equity, and Access is one of the four pillars of the University of Colorado System’s Strategic Plan. Banning FRT is a definitive and measurable outcome that supports this pillar and sends a strong message to our community that we care about equity. We ask that administrators work together with our coalition, as well as with IT leadership, to keep FRT off campuses, except for personal use (like unlocking a phone) or for ethically conducted research. 

Current CU technologies that use either facial detection or facial recognition: 

·       Automated Proctoring Software such as Proctorio, ProctorU, Examity, etc.  

Resources about FRT and equity: 

·       A US Government Study Confirms Most Face Recognition Systems Are Racist. Karen Hao, MIT Technology Review, December 2019

·       Facial Recognition Software Has A Gender Problem. Lisa Marshall. Oct. 8, 2019 

·       ICE Used Facial Recognition to Mine State Driver’s License Databases. The New York Times. Catie Edmondson July 7, 2019 

·       Clearview’s Facial Recognition App Has Been Used by The Justice Department, ICE, Macy’s, Walmart, And The NBA. Caroline Haskins, Ryan Mac, Logan McDonald. Buzzfeed. February 27, 2020, 

·       Racist Facial Recognition Technology Is Being Used by Police at Anti-Racism Protests. Verdict. Lucy Ingham, June 5, 2020 

·       Amazon “Stands in Solidarity” Against Police Racism While Selling Racist Tech to Police. The Intercept. Sam Biddle. June 3, 2020 

·       How White Engineers Built Racist Code – And Why It's Dangerous for Black People. The Guardian. Ali Breland. December 4th, 2017 

·       ‘It's Techno-racism’: Detroit Is Quietly Using Facial Recognition to Make Arrests. Tom Perkins, Aug 17, 2019 

·       Amazon face-detection technology shows gender and racial bias, researchers say. CBS News. January 25, 2019. 

·       'Racist' passport photo system rejects image of a young black man despite meeting government standards. James Cook. The Telegraph. September 19, 2019 

·       “'A white mask worked better': why algorithms are not colour blind.” The Guardian. Ian Tucker. May 28, 2017. 

·       ‘IBM will no longer offer, develop, or research facial recognition technology’. The Verge. Jay Peters. June 8th, 2020 

·       ‘Our Bodies Encoded: Algorithmic Test Proctoring in Higher Education.’ Hybrid Pedagogy, Shea Swauger. April 2, 2020. 


Universities around the county have recognized the dangers FRT create and have banned their use on campus, including: 

·       Boston University 

·       Brown University 

·       California Institute of Technology 

·       Carnegie Mellon University 

·       Colorado State University 

·       Cornell University 

·       Emory University 

·       Georgetown University 

·       Harvard University 

·       Howard University 

·       James Madison University 

·       Johns Hopkins University 

·       Kalamazoo College 

·       Kent State University 

·       Massachusetts Institute of Technology 

·       Michigan State University 

·       New College 

·       New York University 

·       North Western University 

·       Oregon State University 

·       Portland State University 

·       Rice University 

·       Sarah Lawrence College 

·       Stanford University 

·       Tufts University 

·       Tulane University 

·       University of California Berkeley 

·       University of California Davis 

·       University of California Irvine 

·       University of California San Diego 

·       University of California Santa Barbara 

·       University of California Santa Cruz 

·       University of California Los Angeles 

·       University of Chicago  

·       University of Florida 

·       University of Maryland 

·       University of Michigan 

·       University of Minnesota 

·       University of Missouri 

·       University of North Carolina Chapel Hill 

·       University of Pennsylvania 

·       University of Rochester 

·       University of San Fransisco 

·       University of Utah 

·       University of Virginia 

·       University of Washington 

·       University of Wisconsin-Madison 

·       Vanderbilt University 

·       Wake Forrest University 

·       Washington University 

·       Western Washington University 

·       Yale University