At a time of heightened controversy around government use of facial recognition technology, Trueface is laying out its own ethical guidelines for ‘responsibly deployed facial recognition’.
Writing in a Medium post, Trueface CEO Shaun Moore groups his firm’s ethos under three main headings. The first, and perhaps most important, is “Humanity First”, a reference to Trueface’s efforts to train its facial recognition technology across ethnically varied datasets in an effort to minimize the potential bias that can result from less comprehensive machine learning. The principle also refers to a stipulation in Trueface’s contracts asserting that, as Moore puts it, “in juridical use cases, humans will make any ultimate decision based on the enhanced data our software provides.”
The second heading, “Data Security Focused”, pertains to Trueface’s commitment to data security, with Moore noting that Trueface’s technology is only ever deployed on the servers of the company’s clients. And in under the third heading, “Total Transparency”, Moore asserts, “We provide our partners with the tools to be data compliant and be completely transparent with their customers about the data that is being collected.”
The publication arrives in the wake of the controversy that engulfed Amazon after it was revealed that the company had sold its facial recognition technology to law enforcement agencies that were aiming to use it for public surveillance. Amazon hasn’t backed down from the practice, but the controversy may nevertheless have had a chilling effect on government agencies that otherwise might have pursued such contracts more aggressively. It has also prompted a wider debate in the public, affording companies like Trueface, Microsoft, and Google the opportunity to differentiate themselves by publicly committing to certain ethical principles.
It’s a potentially savvy business strategy, providing some cover to government agencies and other organizations that contract such technology. But it’s also a stance that, for some, transcends business considerations, as society begins to truly grapple with the application of contemporary face-scanning surveillance systems in the real world.
November 21, 2018 – by Alex Perala