Rank One Computing is taking a strong stand – in coordination with Security Industry Association (SIA) – to encourage the Face Recognition (FR) industry to embrace a code of ethics that incorporates privacy guidelines. To be sure, FR raises complex legal and privacy issues, especially in video surveillance, law enforcement and access control.

In the US, there is no nation-wide privacy framework for FR, so end users and integrators must navigate a patchwork of state and municipal regulations. With a lack of federal regulation, states such as Illinois, Texas, Washington, and California have passed individual laws that govern the use of biometrics in private and/or public applications. A number of cities have passed local ordinances.
Taking a “Privacy-first” stance, ROC Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel David Ray is leading efforts to create an industry code of ethics. According to Mr. Ray,

Our industry has an obligation to meet the public’s valid concerns about privacy. FR technology can and does play a significant role in protecting our citizens and our way of life. At Rank One, we are committed to ensuring that FR deployments respect civil liberties, and we encourage our industry partners to join us in that commitment.

While surveys show strong public support for government use of FR in support of public safety, national security, border security, and crime investigation, there is a significant minority view which erroneously conflates FR with surveillance and warns of a dystopian future. It is important for industry providers of FR technology to proactively support our customers in their ethical uses of the technology while avoiding aggressive efforts to extend the technology into new and controversial arenas.

Use of FR in the law enforcement domain – with platforms such as dashcams and body-worn cameras – is increasing at the same time as our nation faces increased sensitivities around privacy and racial equity. At the same time, commercial uses of FR – Apple’s Face ID, Facebook, etc. – have gained significant public acceptance but have raised concerns about data ownership and protection. ROC is taking a proactive stand to communicate that public concerns should focus on applications and policies rather than the technology itself. In fact, machine learning has led to significant improvements in FR accuracy and has demonstrated that the technology itself does not introduce any significant racial or other bias in top-tier algorithms. The primary concerns arise from how the technology is deployed and how the data is managed.

Mr. Ray will publicly launch Rank One’s campaign for an industry-wide commitment to ethical Facial Recognition at this year’s Connect-ID conference in Washington, DC, October 5-6. This will build on SIA’s core principles – to which Rank One was a significant contributor – regarding the responsible and effective use of facial recognition technology. Mr. Ray will present the ideas during a plenary session and then host a roundtable discussion to engage and build support.

We invite broad collaborative participation and engagement as we seek to advance this important initiative. To learn more about the Rank One products and services please visit us at rankone.io.

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