Sept. 5 (UPI) -- The Pew Research Center said Thursday that more than half of U.S. adults trust law enforcement agencies to use facial recognition technology responsibly.
Fifty-six percent of U.S. adults trust law enforcement agencies at least somewhat to use facial technology responsibly, with 17 percent of them trusting these agencies a great deal, the Pew survey released Thursday said.
Out of the demographic groups surveyed, Republicans or those leaning Republican, white adults and older adults showed the greatest trust in law enforcement agencies use of the facial recognition tools.
Black adults had the least amount of trust in these agencies using facial recognition tools responsibly. Only 43 percent trusted the use at least somewhat and only 11 percent of them trusted it a great deal. By comparison, 61 percent of whites and 56 percent of Hispanics trusted agencies at least somewhat, with 16 percent of Hispanics and 19 percent of whites trusting the law enforcement use a great deal.
Young adults were the second least likely to trust the facial recognition technology in law enforcement's hands with 49 percent of them trusting law enforcement agencies to use it responsibly at least somewhat, and 15 percent of them trusting these agencies a great deal to do the same. By comparison, 67 percent of adults 65 or older trusted law enforcement to use the technology responsibly.
Fifty-one percent of Democrats, including those leaning Democrat, trusted law enforcement to use the technology at least somewhat responsibly, compared to 65 percent of Republicans/leaning Republican.
The majority of U.S. adults surveyed also said they believed facial recognition technology was effective at identifying individual people, assessing someone's gender and assessing someone's race.
Overall, 59 percent of U.S. adults found it acceptable for law enforcement to use facial recognition technology to assess security threats in public spaces, but the majority did not accept the use of such technology by other entities, such as landlords, advertisers or technology companies.
Still, with civil rights groups like the American Civil Liberties Union raising concerns about bias and accuracy, including correct detection of people of color, San Francisco banned its government's use of facial recognition surveillance earlier this year.
House Democrats also questioned the use of the technology on U.S. citizens in airports a few months ago after Fight for the Future, a nonprofit group advocating for online privacy, launched a campaign calling for a boycott of airlines that use facial recognition technology.
The controversy has stretched internationally with a British court ruling Wednesday that the public use of facial recognition technology was legal despite similar concerns about privacy rights.
The survey of 4,272 U.S. adults was conducted in June with a margin of error of 1.9 percentage points.