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CITRIS Policy Lab publishes digital ID and facial recognition reports to support ID2020 and Good ID

CITRIS Policy Lab publishes digital ID and facial recognition reports to support ID2020 and Good ID

The Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) Policy Lab has published a pair of white papers outlining protections for civil and political rights for digital ID and biometric facial recognition systems to support the efforts of ID2020 and Good ID.

CITRIS is affiliated with the Banatao Institute, which was created by California’s state government to shorten the pipeline between laboratory research and technology commercialization.

A report on “Responsible Digital ID: Effects of Data Governance Policies and Practices on Human Rights” examines the need for coordination in the establishment of clear and internationally accepted ethical guidelines for identification systems serving the estimated 1 billion people without formal identification. The paper includes case studies of China, Estonia, Argentina and Kenya, and was co-authored by CITRIS Policy Lab Director Brandie Nonnecke and Goldman School of Public Policy MPP students Henriette Ruhrmann and Andreas Sampson Geroski.

“If these systems aren’t built within a human rights context, there may be serious risks to civil protections. This report provides guidance to better ensure national digital ID system don’t infringe upon civil and political rights,” said Nonnecke in the announcement.

Facing the Future: Protecting Human Rights in Policy Strategies for Facial Recognition Technology in Law Enforcement” is Ruhrmann’s senior capstone thesis project, and offers a framework for ethical implementation of facial biometrics. The report considers case studies from U.S. and UK law enforcement implementations, and warns that inadequate regulation of these kinds of deployments may result in discrimination, privacy, and due process rights violations.

Informed public discourse, according to the report, requires further research into subjects such as the effectiveness of facial recognition technology for solving and preventing crime.

“Given the unique vulnerability of leveraging our face for establishing our identity, FRT creates specific risks to protected human rights,” Ruhrmann concludes. “For this reason, it is necessary to establish a regulatory framework specific to the challenges of FRT before rights violations need to be litigated in a slow-moving judicial process. Technological innovation redefines the architecture of the social world, and social innovation is necessary to ensure the respect of our existing human rights protections in an evolving socio-technical system.”

ID2020 announced a program to establish digital ID as part of the vaccine delivery process, along with partners, earlier this month.

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