US Senators introduce commercial face recognition bill
18 March 2019 17:48 GMT

U.S. Senators Roy Blunt (Mo.) and Brian Schatz (Hawaii), members of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation, have introduced the Commercial Facial Recognition Privacy Act of 2019.

In a statement, the senators said the bipartisan legislation would strengthen consumer protections by prohibiting commercial users of facial recognition technology (FR) from collecting and re-sharing data for identifying or tracking consumers without their consent.
 
“Consumers are increasingly concerned about how their data is being collected and used, including data collected through facial recognition technology,” said Senator Blunt. “That’s why we need guardrails to ensure that, as this technology continues to develop, it is implemented responsibly. This bill increases transparency and consumer choice by requiring individuals to give informed consent before commercial entities can collect and share data gathered through FR. This legislation is an important step toward protecting privacy and empowering consumers, and I encourage all of my colleagues to support it.”
 
“Our faces are our identities. They’re personal. So the responsibility is on companies to ask people for their permission before they track and analyze their faces,” said Senator Schatz, Ranking Member of the Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet. “Our bill makes sure that people are given the information and – more importantly  – the control over how their data is shared with companies using facial recognition technology.”
 
“Facial recognition technology creates many new benefits for society and should continue to be developed,” said Brad Smith, President of Microsoft. “Its use, however, needs to be regulated to protect against acts of bias and discrimination, preserve consumer privacy, and uphold our basic democratic freedoms. Senators Blunt and Schatz’s bill has started an important conversation in Congress about the responsible use of this technology. We’re encouraged by their efforts, applaud their leadership and look forward to working with them to develop balanced policy.”
 
“The Commercial Facial Recognition Privacy Act recognizes that face recognition is a powerful and invasive new technology,” said Chris Calabrese, Vice President for Policy at the Center for Democracy & Technology. “We deserve clear rules and limits on how our faces can be analyzed, identified, and tracked over time. While face recognition is improving rapidly, we must ensure these technologies are assessed for accuracy and bias. This bipartisan proposal will help all Americans know more about how businesses are deploying and using face recognition technologies.”