I Need More of Your Feedback on Facial Recognition Privacy

As I reported in January of this year, I am participating on behalf of AugmentedReality.Org in the Privacy Multistakeholder Process for Facial Recognition Technology being held by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.  Between February and June of 2014, this collaborative gathering intends to hammer out a voluntary, enforceable code of conduct that specifies how the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights applies to facial recognition technology in the commercial (i.e., not governmental) context.


The NTIA meeting … #throughglass, natch

Before the first meeting, I solicited your views on this topic, to better enable me to represent the views of those in the AR and related fields.  And many of you responded, through comments on this blog, LinkedIn group discussions, and various other ways.  I appreciate that; it helped.

We just wrapped up our second meeting here in D.C.  It turns out that the group is taking more time than anticipated to get a handle on how facial recognition technology is used, and just how far the standards we’re supposed to be discussing should go.

To help narrow the discussion, participants have begun to submit hypothetical use cases for facial recognition. For each, we need to decide (1) whether the commercial code of conduct should even apply to the given situation, and (2) if so, how. We have also been encouraged to submit additional use cases to illustrate the real-world utility of the technology and the limits of the standards.

The five hypothetical use cases submitted so far are reproduced below.  Can you help me by providing your views on whether and how such activity should be regulated by commercial codes of conduct–and by suggesting additional use cases?

NTIA Privacy Multistakeholder Process
Commercial Facial Recognition Technology
Proposed Use Cases that Might be Addressed by a Code of Conduct
February 21, 2014

1. A pro-pot legalization march is held in Sacramento, CA within full view of dozens of
public and private surveillance cameras. Corporations use facial recognition technology
to sell pot tours to Colorado and other products that they have found to be linked to
favorable views on marijuana.

2. At a pro-pot legalization march, lots of cell phone and other photos are taken and
uploaded. Employers use facial recognition to identify workers in potential violation of
their drug policies. Individuals use the technology to see and tag their friends on Internet

3. A mobile application lets individuals obtain a broad range of personal information –
including a person’s name, photos, and dating website profiles – by capturing a person’s
face with a mobile device’s camera and employing facial recognition.

4. A kiosk located in a busy retail space is equipped with a camera. As shoppers walk past,
the camera surreptitiously and automatically takes pictures of their faces, generates
biometric identifiers, and retains them.

5. A mobile device owner uses the device to capture a photograph of her face, generating a
biometric that can be used to authenticate her to the device itself and applications loaded
on the device.

All feedback is appreciated and will help to make sure this discussion reflects the consensus of the industry.  Thanks!