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Stakeholders work towards establishing facial recognition guidelines


Consumer protection and privacy organization Center For Digital Democracy and NTIA are attempting to establish voluntary guidelines for the use of facial recognition software, according to a report by Broadcasting & Cable.

Earlier this week, the stakeholders met at the Commerce Department where the National Telecommunications & Information Administration’s (NTIA) John Verdi moderated a discussion to address language on important concerns including data retention/disposal, security and deletion.

Center For Digital Democracy (CDD) executive director Jeff Chester emphasized that there ought to be more specific language regarding the way data is being handled and the right to opt out.

Chester said that the very nature of discussing language about retention and security of facial recognition data is “incredibly premature”. He suggested that they should first determine the consumer rights, based on dependable information, about how facial recognition is being used as well as how it could be used.

He also pointed out that it is too difficult to discuss the structure for individual rights without first identifying what those rights are.

He added that the nature of technology’s involvement with users will interfere with individual rights and freedoms and that individual consent will always be necessary.

Chester questioned Verdi about the White House or Commerce’s progress on the proposed privacy bill of rights and the influence of big data regarding those rights, while pointing out that the voluntary guideline process will depend on the White House’s final recommendations on that bill of rights.

In response, Verdi said that Commerce was still in the midst vetting comments on a big data report, which was published back in August.

Chester addressed the issue of data retention by emphasizing that language should be specific and granular because a lack of concrete details would allow the same potential abuses to occur in the current facial recognition system.

Meanwhile, Verdi said that the meeting was not intended to establish the exact language for the guidelines.

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