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Biometrics: A Look at Facial Recognition

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During the 2002 Virginia General Assembly, Delegate H. Morgan Griffith sponsored legislation setting legal parameters for public sector use of facial recognition technology in Virginia. The Virginia State Crime Commission, a standing legislative commission of the Virginia General Assembly, is statutorily mandated to make recommendations on all areas of public safety in the Commonwealth of Virginia. RAND analyst John D. Woodward, Jr. presented this briefing to the Virginia State Crime Commission Facial Recognition Sub-committee in September 2002. It does not make specific policy recommendations, rather defines biometrics and discusses examples of the technology, explaining how biometrics may be used for authentication and surveillance purposes. Facial recognition is examined in depth, to include technical, operational, and testing considerations. It concludes with a discussion of the legal status quo with respect to public sector use of facial recognition.