Committee to hold hearing on facial technology
14 January 2020 14:04 GMT

On Wednesday, January 15, 2020, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, will hold the Committee’s third hearing this Congress focused on facial recognition technology.  This hearing will examine the sale and use of commercial facial recognition technology by private industry, civilians, and government entities.

The purpose of the hearing is to examine the various ways that private sector entities use facial recognition technology; the potential transparency, privacy, accuracy, ownership, and security implications involved in its use and the partnerships these companies develop with government entities; and the possible legislative solutions that can be implemented to avoid these risks. 

Although facial recognition technology is widely used, it is not ready for prime time due to security, privacy, and accuracy concerns.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) issued a new report in December analyzing commercial vendors of facial recognition systems.  This report found:  “Across demographics, false positives rates often vary by factors of 10 to beyond 100 times.”

Nevertheless, facial recognition technology is being used increasingly in home security systems, social media sites, shopping malls, and elsewhere for advertising, security, access, photo and video data identification, and accessibility.
On May 22, 2019, the Committee held its first hearing this Congress on facial recognition technology.  The hearing provided a broad overview on how the use of facial recognition technology can impact the civil rights and liberties of individuals across the country.
On June 4, 2019, the Committee held its second hearing to examine the use of facial recognition technology by federal law enforcement entities and the need for oversight and regulation of how this technology is used on civilians.

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