FTC seeks public comments on facial recognition

09/01/12

The USA's Federal Trade Commission is seeking public comments on facial recognition technology and the privacy and security implications raised by its increasing use.

A public workshop held in December – "Face Facts: A Forum on Facial Recognition Technology" – focused on the current and future commercial applications of facial detection and recognition technologies, and explored an array of current uses of these technologies, possible future uses and benefits, and potential privacy and security concerns. (The agenda for the workshop can be found here, and an archived webcast of the proceedings is viewable here).

The deadline for filing comments is 31 January 2012.

FTC says that facial detection and recognition technologies have been adopted in a variety of new contexts, ranging from online social networks to digital signs and mobile apps. Their increased use has raised a variety of privacy concerns. To further the Commission's understanding of the issues, the Federal Trade Commission staff seeks public comments on issues raised at the workshop, including but not limited to:

  • What are the current and future commercial uses of these technologies?
  • How can consumers benefit from the use of these technologies?
  • What are the privacy and security concerns surrounding the adoption of these technologies, and how do they vary depending on how the technologies are implemented?
  • Are there special considerations that should be given for the use of these technologies on or by populations that may be particularly vulnerable, such as children?
  • What are best practices for providing consumers with notice and choice regarding the use of these technologies?
  • Are there situations where notice and choice are not necessary? By contrast, are there contexts or places where these technologies should not be deployed, even with notice and choice?
  • Is notice and choice the best framework for dealing with the privacy concerns surrounding these technologies, or would other solutions be a better fit? If so, what are they?
  • What are best practices for developing and deploying these technologies in a way that protects consumer privacy?
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