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US Commission To Examine Facial Recognition Technology’s Impact on Civil Liberties

Facial recognition technology is facing a large roll out across federal and state governments.

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The US Commission on Civil Rights has scheduled a public briefing regarding the civil rights implications of the use of facial recognition technology.

The briefing will be held on March 8, and the Commission said that the investigation will look into how the tech is used by federal agencies, but also how it is developed.

The reason to take a closer look at this, according to an announcement, is to learn about “emerging civil rights concerns, and safeguards the federal government is implementing to mitigate potential civil rights issues.”

The Department of Justice (DoJ), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) are the three specific agencies whose use of facial recognition will be under scrutiny, the Commission specified.

Those called to present their case during the public briefing are government officials, academics, researchers, software developers, and legal experts, the announcement added.

A report will be issued in due course and the Commission will also accept written materials from the public, with the submission deadline being April 8.

Reports about this development note that even though the official, legislative reaction and response in the US concerning the use of the technology is “lagging behind” some other countries and organizations like the EU, the issue is nonetheless a highly controversial one in that country as well.

The Algorithmic Justice League, which says its mission is to raise awareness about the impacts of “AI,” says that the technology is receiving a degree of opposition in the US.

The group’s founder Joy Buolamwini recently shared with the media that “calls” for Amazon and Microsoft “not to sell facial recognition to law enforcement” is what counts for “pushback.”

For reasons such as the use of facial recognition and biometric information harvested from citizens at airports and other large public venues and spaces, and the misgivings about not only privacy but also security of this vital data, “AI” is said to be scrutinized for the most part in terms of human and civil rights.

Regulating the space – in ways as yet unknown, in terms of how broad or narrow they may be – is one of the ideas to deal with the problem and the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine is among those who are in favor of passing regulation to this effect.

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