NTIA presses on with commercial facial recognition talks
16 July 2015 15:02 GMT

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration has announced plans for new round of multistakeholder talks, despite privacy advocates leaving the process.

The NTIA revealed in a statement on Wednesday that the next meeting will be held on 28 July.

In June, representatives from privacy groups including the American Civil Liberties Union, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Center for Democracy and Technology quit the talks over issues surrounding a voluntary code of conduct for companies using facial recognition.

“At this point, we do not believe that the NTIA process is likely to yield a set of privacy rules that offers adequate protections for the use of facial recognition technology. We are convinced that in many contexts, facial recognition of consumers should only occur when an individual has affirmatively decided to allow it to occur. In recent NTIA meetings however, industry stakeholders were unable to agree on any concrete scenario where companies should employ facial recognition only with a consumer’s permission.”

 The groups complained that companies want to create situations whereby they “never need to ask permission to use biometric identification”, and said that this is at odds with consumer expectations, current industry practices, as well as existing state law.

“We hope that our withdrawal signals the need to reevaluate the effectiveness of multistakeholder processes in developing effective rules of the road that protect consumer privacy –and that companies will support and implement.”

President Barack Obama revealed plans in July to put the NTIA, part of the Commerce Department, in charge of developing privacy guidelines. Other key issues were parties establishing and maintaining appropriate retention and disposal practices for the facial recognition data that they collect.   being overseen by the Department of Commerce (DoC).

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