US Senators introduce a bill to avoid misuse of facial recognition technology

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Yesterday, Senator Brian Schatz and Senator Roy Blunt introduced a new bill titled, “Commercial Facial Recognition Privacy Act of 2019”. This bill would prohibit companies from using facial recognition technology to identify an end user for different purposes without the user’s consent.

According to Blunt, “Consumers are increasingly concerned about how their data is being collected and used, including data collected through facial recognition technology. That’s why we need guardrails to ensure that, as this technology continues to develop, it is implemented responsibly.”

Brian Schatz said, “Our faces are our identities. They’re personal. So the responsibility is on companies to ask people for their permission before they track and analyze their faces.” He further added, “Our bill makes sure that people are given the information and – more importantly  – the control over how their data is shared with companies using facial recognition technology.”

The facial recognition tech providers would have to meet security standards set by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

In December 2018, Microsoft President Brad Smith, published a blog post, requesting governments to regulate the rapid evolution of Facial Recognition technology. He stated, “Unless we act, we risk waking up five years from now to find that facial recognition services have spread in ways that exacerbate societal issues. By that time, these challenges will be much more difficult to bottle back up.”

“Schatz and Blunt’s bill appears to propose some similar guidelines, but it does not address the use of facial recognition technology by law enforcement — a hot-button issue as police departments across the country implement the technology in their efforts to track and identify potential criminals”, The Hill reports.

Regarding the bill, Brad Smith said, “Facial recognition technology creates many new benefits for society and should continue to be developed. Its use, however, needs to be regulated to protect against acts of bias and discrimination, preserve consumer privacy, and uphold our basic democratic freedoms.”

To know more visit the official release page, Commercial Facial Recognition Privacy Act of 2019.

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