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AI ethics board in US DOJ would advise on facial recognition deployment

AI ethics board in US DOJ would advise on facial recognition deployment

It’s difficult to know if news of an AI compliance board in the U.S. government is progress or more hand-waving. Members would review legal and ethics compliance when using facial recognition and related algorithms for law enforcement.

According to reporting by trade publication GovInfoSecurity, the Department of Justice will create the board to advise department officials on ethically and lawfully using AI, including biometrics.

Lisa Monaco, deputy attorney general, reportedly told a gathering of data security insiders this week that law enforcement and national security investigations can be done in ways that are respectful of Constitutional rights. Board members will steer decisionmakers in that direction and act as a clearinghouse for AI best practices.

If the board is formed – no deadlines or expectations are discussed – it might need a dedicated committee just to stay abreast of what is happening with facial recognition deployments and legislation.

There are multiple efforts in federal and state government to lay down tracks for biometric identification and surveillance programs. Results have been uneven and isolated, according to government watchdogs.

The closest the U.S. has gotten to its AI goal – comprehensive, consistent and effective rules for federal staff – is an executive order last month. The White House is involving the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the departments of Homeland Security, Commerce and Energy to attain its goal.

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