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Uncle DHS wants you to help him make better biometrics

Uncle DHS wants you to help him make better biometrics

Better late than never, the U.S. government wants to find out what people think of facial recognition and other AI capabilities.

The Department of Homeland Security is collecting opinions on the matter between now and December 6.

In announcing the listening project, the DHS says that its officials already have piloted or implemented AI algorithms, but notes that biometrics and AI “are not without public controversy.”

The expected feedback, minus the occasional expletive, will be used to better design and deploy related hardware and software. Or it could be used to improve the marketing of the tools.

Of special interest to the department is whether people think collecting biometric identifiers is something its agents should be doing. Is the “estimate of burden accurate” and can the burden be minimized for respondents?

Also, how can DHS improve “the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected?”

The organization, for some reason, also wants to know, “will this information be processed and used in a timely manner?” Sounds like an internal question, but there are no dumb questions.

Kathleen Deloughery, a program manager within the departments’ Science and Technology Directorate, pushed the idea to IT publication Nextgov, saying successful tech launches require an understanding of the public’s views.

Deloughery said DHS used a similar strategy to improve the launch this year of a shoe-scanner at Transportation Security Administration checkpoints.

A DHS video earlier this year indicated the agency’s direction on biometrics in air travel, indicating deployment will expand to more touchpoints and travelers’ mobile devices.

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