The Security Industry Association has made known its “strong opposition” to a newly proposed facial recognition ban in a statement.
The Facial Recognition and Biometric Technology Moratorium Act, proposed by Senators Edward Markey and Jeff Merkley together with Representatives Pramila Jayapal and Ayanna Pressley, would essentially implement a federal moratorium on any government use of facial recognition, which would last until lawmakers pass legislation that would lift the ban. Such legislation would presumably have specific guidelines about how the biometric technology can be used.
While voice recognition is also included in the proposed moratorium, the legislators behind it stressed the issue of racial bias as their central concern with respect to the bill. Studies have demonstrated that at least some facial recognition systems become less accurate when scanning subjects who are not white men, and last week brought news of a wrongful arrest based on facial recognition identification.
For its part, the SIA emphasized in its statement that facial recognition technology has reached a highly advanced stage of technological development, and yet acknowledged that “its use in law enforcement must be as a secondary tool in investigations to assist personnel”. The organization said that facial recognition, when paired with human investigators, can limit the kinds of biases that would otherwise prevail.
The SIA also noted that facial recognition has assisted investigations into forced labor trafficking, child exploitation, and terrorist plots.
Speaking of the proposed moratorium, the SIA said it “threatens the safety of Americans by eliminating certain tools that have been in use for a decade or more to solve thousands of crimes, prevent fraud, allow access to critical infrastructure and, overall, keep Americans safe, while negating the research put into improving and developing safe, reliable and unbiased technology.”
The SIA was a signatory to an open letter to Congress last autumn that similarly urged legislators to consider the benefits of facial recognition when considering biometrics regulations or bans.
June 30, 2020 – by Alex Perala