“…the ACM offers several guidelines for how facial recognition technology could be used responsibly, including establishing regular and ongoing auditing programs that would help to ensure that such systems are as accurate as possible…”
The Association for Computing Machinery has come out in favor of a ban on biometric facial recognition technology, arguing that rigorous evaluations have demonstrated that such technology “too often produces results demonstrating clear bias based on ethnic, racial, gender, and other human characteristics recognizable by computer systems.”
With nearly 100,000 student and professional members, the ACM is the latest prominent voice to add itself to a chorus of facial recognition critics, with Amnesty International and even the Vatican being among the groups to call for bans in recent months.
For its part, ACM called in its statement for a ban on the use of facial recognition “in all circumstances known or reasonably foreseeable to be prejudicial to established human and legal rights.” And this would effectively be a moratorium, “pending the creation and adoption of legal standards for [facial recognition’s] accuracy proportional to the potential harm such systems may cause to misidentified or non-identified individuals”.
The organization recognizes the “benign and beneficial” aspects of facial recognition technology, but simply sees too much potential harm resulting from its use without the right safeguards, regulations, and laws in place.
On that note, the ACM offers several guidelines for how facial recognition technology could be used responsibly, including establishing regular and ongoing auditing programs that would help to ensure that such systems are as accurate as possible, and that their limitations are fully understood and accounted for. The ACM also calls for transparency in the public deployment of facial recognition systems, and for the implementation of mechanisms for accountability in the event that harm results from the use of facial recognition, among other guidelines.
It’s thus a nuanced call for the suspension of facial recognition systems, albeit one that lands amid an intense, larger debate about the technology’s use by law enforcement authorities in particular.
July 6, 2020 – by Alex Perala