The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is taking a closer look at how companies use biometric data, such as facial recognition and fingerprints, to identify and track consumers. The agency recently announced a tentative agenda for its open meeting next week, which includes a vote on a policy statement on biometric information and Section 5 of the FTC Act.
The policy statement will list examples of some of the practices the FTC will scrutinize in determining whether companies collecting and/or using or marketing biometric information technologies are complying with Section 5 of the FTC Act, which prohibits unfair or deceptive acts or practices in commerce.
The FTC has been active in enforcing Section 5 of the FTC Act against companies that violate consumers’ privacy and security rights with respect to biometric data. For example, in January 2021, the FTC reached a settlement with Everalbum, a photo app company that allegedly deceived consumers about its use of facial recognition technology and its retention of consumers’ biometric data. The settlement required Everalbum to delete the biometric data it collected from users without their consent and to obtain express consent from users before applying facial recognition to their photos or videos.
More recently, the FTC announced ‘Proposed Rulemaking‘ concerning ‘commercial surveillance and data security’ last summer, requesting public comment on technologies that collect consumers’ data, including biometric information. It went on to receive an open letter from a group of 33 Attorneys General calling on the Commission to “consider the risks of commercial surveillance practices that use or facilitate the use of facial recognition, fingerprinting, or other biometrics technologies.”
Last week, the FTC accused Facebook of misleading parents about its protections for children, and proposed new privacy measures for the company along with a prohibition on any profit generation for Facebook from the use of minors’ data.
The FTC’s open meeting will be held virtually on Thursday, May 18, 2023 at 11am ET and will begin with time for members of the public to address the Commission. Members of the public can sign up for an opportunity to speak or submit written comments or prerecorded videos through a webform by Tuesday, May 16, 2023 at 8 pm ET.
May 12, 2023 – by The FindBiometrics Editorial Team