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South Korea privacy watchdog warns against public facial recognition deployments

South Korea privacy watchdog warns against public facial recognition deployments

The National Human Rights Commission of Korea (NHRCK) warned earlier today against the country’s plans to deploy facial recognition for public institutions.

The NHRCK has asked the speaker of the National Assembly and the prime minister Han Duck-soo to postpone the deployment of such solutions until legislation preventing the violation of human rights is created, reports Yonhap.

Specifically, the privacy watchdog called for the establishment of standards for the exceptional and supplementary use of facial recognition, only when the need for the public interest is recognized.

Similarly, European legislators are currently considering such exceptions in drafting the so-called AI Act.

“If the state collects, retains and utilizes a wide range of people’s face information without any special control, it can track and monitor specific individuals, violating their freedom and privacy of personal life,” the NHRCK said.

Further, the Commission argued that, more generally, biometric technologies targeting an unspecified number of people should be banned in principle as they cannot be deployed without violating fundamental human rights.

The warning comes amidst a plan from the government to introduce an access control system in government buildings designed to bind civil servant ID cards to face biometrics.

Also in South Korea, the country’s blockchain-based national digital identity system is moving forward, with 750,000 citizens having a blockchain-based mDL on their phones as of 30 November 2022.

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