Your Chance to Influence Facial Recognition Privacy Law!

On February 6, 2014, the National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA)–a division of the U.S. Department of Commerce–will hold the first in a series of meetings on facial recognition technology.  ”The goal of the process,” says the NTIA, “is to develop a voluntary, enforceable code of conduct that specifies how the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights applies to facial recognition technology.”  Various stakeholders in this technology are invited to attend, and are reported to include Facebook, Walmart, and other industry giants.

Without a doubt, facial recognition will play a huge role in the development of AR.  I plan to participate in this meeting on behalf of the AugmentedReality.Org trade association (which, among other things, sponsors the annual Augmented World Expo conference, where we’re likely to hear more on the subject.)

In order to best represent the AR industry’s views in this process, however, I need your help.  Post a comment on this blog or social media post and let me know what concerns you have about facial recognition technology–or about attempts to regulate it.  Does your business use, or plan to use, this technology?  Does its impact on personal privacy concern you?  What boundaries should there be on commercial exploitation of facial recognition data?

Whether you are a businessperson actively involved in AR or related technologies, a student, privacy advocate, or simply a concerned citizen, I want to hear from you, so that all of your voices can be represented in this process.

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  • johnchavens

    Hi Brian,

    Great to hear you’re involved with this. Per the discussions we’ve had, I’d like to see a way individuals can blur their own face/image in public so they don’t have to be identified by FR without consent. Or they’re alerted when someone is going to use their image so they can provide consent. This is less about privacy than commerce, as people’s identity/data being accessed and tagged means a chance for revenue, and people supplying that data should be privy to and benefit from that info/revenue. Thanks!

    • bdwassom

      Thanks John- you’ve been a thought leader in this space for a long time.

  • David Brydon

    Personally I’m not overly concerned about FR. I would suggest that businesses should be required to let customers know that it is in use. Via signage or similar.

    There are many different use cases for FR that regulating it will be difficult. Some instances will be less obvious such as simply monitoring who enters a store vs the in your face point of sale situations which will allow shop assistants to know your name and other details like “happy birthday Mr Wassom!”. The second example should allow customers to opt in or out of that service the first is harder to opt out of without simply avoiding the store.

    For me it’s comparable to cell phones. Initially there was a lot of dislike for carrying a phone around with you 24/7 but after a while people learn to see the benefits and get on broad.

    Thanks for representing the AR community!

    • bdwassom

      Thanks- glad to hear honest views from all perspectives. I look forward to giving the ar industry a voice in this process.

  • darkflame

    I’d suggest any case where facial recognition is used to link to a name, that data should not be allowed to leave the device or machine that did the recognition.
    Most of the advantages of facial recognition for individuals – like a machine recognizing you – can be done without the need for a large database of names and faces held externally and looked up via the internet.
    This goes for AR too – you can maintain your own local database of friends, relatives, and yourself to link data too. Software and hardware today is perfectly capable of that.

    People with memory problems, likewise, would still benefit from the potential use’s of local stored recognition

    Large external facial recognition database’s are just too open to abuse. No matter what promise’s are made, its pretty clear they wont stay closed/secure/only used by a few.

    • bdwassom

      Good thoughts, thanks!