Black and Latinx families traveling in and around the Sandusky, Ohio area are urged by civil rights groups to exercise caution because of increased use of facial recognition technology by ICE and CBP.

Sandusky, OH — Today, 3 national civil rights groups, MediaJustice, Fight for the Future, and the Demand Progress Education Fund, issued a travel advisory warning for Sandusky, Ohio, warning Black and Latinx families to exercise caution when driving on Interstate 90. 

The travel advisory comes in response to ICE and CBP’s increasing practice of using state DMV photo databases for facial recognition scanning. The travel advisory is as follows:

“Calling all families, especially Black, Latinx, Muslim and other families of color, to please exercise an increased level of caution and safety precautions when traveling in or around Sandusky, Ohio, particularly on Interstate 90. ICE and CBP routinely use license plate readers and Ohio’s DMV photo database for facial recognition in an attempt to target immigrants.”

The civil rights organizations urge their members, totaling over 2 million people, and the broader community to exercise caution by avoiding the Sandusky area if possible. Failing that, families should take note of their Fourth Amendment rights and any and all safety precautions when dealing with law enforcement.

The Sandusky area is home to a large roller coaster theme park, Cedar Point, and will likely be a popular family destination for Labor Day weekend.

“It’s become increasingly clear that ICE and CBP represent a clear and present threat to black and brown families. In Ohio, ICE and CBP are accessing state DMV photo databases for facial recognition, despite the fact that facial recognition technology still fails to accurately identify the faces of women and people of color. To our families and friends travelling in and around the Sandusky area, we urge you to please be aware of your surroundings and exercise caution,” said Tihi Hayslett, senior campaigner at Demand Progress Education Fund.

“It’s incredibly troubling that DMV databases are becoming the bedrock of ICE and CBP’s surveillance infrastructure. Information sharing between Ohio’s DMV and government agencies is even more disturbing. People are not afforded the opportunity to consent or opt-out. Errors made by law enforcement based on invasive and inaccurate technology is wrong and have a disproportionate impact on those who already are over-surveilled. Countless studies indicate that facial recognition is an unreliable technology, that doesn’t accurately identify people with darker skin complexions — especially women — and so we know that this collusion is going to impact Black and brown communities in particularly dangerous ways,” said Myaisha Hayes, National Field Organizer on Criminal Justice & Tech, MediaJustice.

“Facial recognition is unlike any other form of surveillance, and it’s being used to automate racial profiling and discrimination in the United States. No one should be subjected to this type of invasive, biased, and dangerous technology. That’s why we need lawmakers at the local, state, and Federal level to ban it,” said Evan Greer, Deputy Director of Fight for the Future.


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