In the wake of nationwide and global protests over police racism and brutality, several large tech companies have backed off of plans to sell facial recognition technology to law enforcement.
Throughout the criminal justice system, people of color have traditionally been arrested more often, charged more harshly, given less access to bail, convicted at greater rates and sentenced to longer than their white peers. This has certainly carried through to drug enforcement.
According to a 1986 U.S. Supreme Court decision called Batson v. Kentucky, it violates the Equal Protection Clause for prosecutors to intentionally exclude potential jury members because of race. When the defense suspects the prosecutor is excluding jurors based on race, they can issue what is called a "Batson challenge."
At the border and in international airports, ICE and the Customs and Border Protection service have been routinely rifling through people's computers and smart phones. Away from the border, law enforcement needs a warrant before it can search your phone or another electronic device. So why have border agents assumed they didn't need one?
According to the bipartisan nonprofit the Prison Policy Initiative, a third of all Wisconsin county jail inmates between 2009 and 2013 were locked up solely because they couldn't afford a low cash bail. In other words, they're behind bars before having been convicted of anything.
New York City is infamous for its "stop-and-frisk" policy, which allowed officers to perform a pat-down search on anyone they suspected of carrying a firearm. This resulted in tens of thousands of innocent people, the vast majority of whom were African-American or Latino, being stopped, frisked, and given an arrest record despite having done nothing wrong.
The Center for Court Innovation, a New York-based criminal justice reform agency, recently released a study on supposedly race-neutral risk assessment tools. These tools are widely used by courts to determine whether defendants should be granted bail or held in jail until trial.
According to the government, the full-body scanners that are standard at airports cost about $150,000 each. In the last decade or so, the Transportation Security Administration has invested over $100 million on the scanners, which are called "millimeter wave machines."