The Electronic Frontier Foundation has signed a coalition letter asking the Privacy and Civil Liberties Board (PCLOB) to urge the government to put a moratorium on its use of facial recognition technology. Other signatories to the open letter include Color of Change, Council on American-Islamic Relations, Demand Progress, Fight for the Future, National Center for Transgender Equality, and the Project on Government Oversight.
The PCLOB is an independent agency within the executive government, whose mandate is to advise the President and other senior officials on privacy and civil liberties matters. It was established by Congress in 2004, during the first years of the War on Terror, and is dedicated to the cause of maintaining civil rights.
In addition to the privacy concerns that EFF and other advocacy groups have highlighted with respect to facial recognition technology, the open letter also emphasizes discrepancies in the accuracy of many facial recognition systems across racial and gender lines. “While we do not believe that improved accuracy of facial recognition would justify further deployment, we do believe that the obvious problems with bias and discrimination in the systems that are currently in use is an additional reason to recommend a blanket moratorium,” the letter states.
The letter also points to the recent revelations about Clearview AI, a firm that has been selling databases of face images collected from across the internet, including social media platforms, to law enforcement agencies.
What’s more, the letter arrives at a time when legislators in both the European Union and the US House of Congress are considering restrictions on the use of facial recognition, and even a potential moratorium in the EU, according to recent reports.
January 29, 2020 – by Alex Perala