This week, Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) introduced their Commercial Facial Recognition Privacy Act which is aimed at commercial users of Facial Recognition technology.
Your face can be the most important part of your personal identity. It distinguishes you from everyone else on the planet. It can unlock your smartphone and grant you access to your bank account. It is commonly used by law enforcement to accurately and successfully identify a wanted person in a crowd or even match a simple image with a database of known criminals.
The whole concept kind of conjures up the image of an Orwellian “Big Brother” creeping across the country.
Increasingly, people are becoming concerned about how their data is being collected and used, including data that is being collected through facial recognition technology. A message to the press, Senator Blunt said that we need guardrails to ensure that this technology will continue to develop but must implement responsibly.
If this bill passes, it will require companies to notify customers when facial recognition technology is being used. This could manifest in something similar to “CCTB in Operation” signage. This bill would also restrict the redistribution or dissemination of data to third-parties without the express consent from the end user.
Get Consumer Consent
This bill requires that in order for consumers to give consent they must be informed before commercial parties can collect and share all data collected through facial recognition (Blunt). All parties would have to meet data security, minimization, and retention standards set down by the Federal Trade Commission and National Institute of Standards and Technology.
Keep in mind, facial recognition is nothing new. It’s been a large part of security and surveillance applications for decades. That said, its use in a commercial application while on the rise, many consumers remain unaware that “Big Brother” technology is often hidden in plain sight!
Both Senators believe their bill will make sure people are given information and, more importantly, control over how their data is used and shared with companies that are using facial recognition technology. This legislation is an important move toward protecting privacy and empowering consumers. Blunt encourages all his colleagues to support this bill.