NTIA near producing draft of facial recognition code of conduct

March 21, 2016 - 

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will convene a meeting of organizations involved in the privacy multi-stakeholder process focused on the commercial use of facial recognition technology on March 29.

Stakeholders have been engaged in an open, transparent, consensus-driven process to develop a code of conduct regarding facial recognition technology.

According to a report in The Hill newspaper, a preliminary draft of the code will be presented at the upcoming March meeting.

Over the past two years, stakeholders involved in the process have discussed how best to ensure that consumers’ rights to control, transparency, security, access and accuracy, focused collection and accountability are respected within the context of current and emerging commercial uses of facial recognition technology.

Carl Szabo, policy counsel for industry group NetChoice, who is part of the working group developing the draft told The Hill: “There has been a bunch of really great work done by groups to help their members navigate the universe of facial recognition technology. What we’re trying to do is take their good work and the work of everyone who has contributed so far and kind of expand it a little bit further to address public-facing uses of facial recognition technology.”

The privacy multi-stakeholder process, focused upon facial recognition technology, is part of the framework set forth in the White House’s February 23, 2012 document: Consumer Data Privacy in a Networked World: A Framework for Protecting Privacy and Promoting Innovation in the Global Digital Economy, otherwise known the ‘‘Privacy Blueprint’’. The Privacy Blueprint directs NTIA to convene a series of multi-stakeholder processes that apply the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights to particular business contexts, which includes the creation of a code of conduct. The code of conduct would give businesses that employ facial recognition technology greater certainty about how the Privacy Blueprint’s principles apply to them. Facial recognition potentially impacts a range of industry participants, including: developers of facial recognition software; retailers that employ recognition-enabled camera systems; providers of online services; and game console developers, among others.

While the process has been embraced by many businesses, BiometricUpdate.com previously reported that several stakeholders withdrew from the process, including: Center for Digital Democracy, the Center on Privacy and Technology, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Common Sense Media, Center for Democracy & Technology, Consumer Federation of America, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), and Consumer Action. These privacy advocates said they withdrew from the process because that they did not feel confident that the meetings would lead to establishing guidelines that enforced proper data protections.

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About Rawlson King

Rawlson O’Neil King is a contributing editor at BiometricUpdate.com and is an experienced communications professional, management consultant, trade journalist and author who recently published a book about control and electronic networks and who has written numerous articles in trade publications and academic journals about smart home and building technologies. Follow him @rawlsonking2.