FTC releases guidelines for facial recognition technologies deployment

Thursday 25 October 2012 14:04 CET | News

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has released a report dubbed “Facing Facts: Best Practices for Common Uses of Facial Recognition Technologies aimed at increasing the number of companies which use facial recognition technologies, to help them protect consumers’ privacy.

According to FTC, facial recognition technologies have been deployed in a range of areas ranging from online social networks and mobile applications to digital signs. These technologies are aimed at identifying an individual’s age range and gender in order to deliver targeted advertising, assessing viewers’ emotions to see if they are engaged in a video game or a movie, or matching faces and identifying anonymous individuals in images.

On the other hand, facial recognition has raised a series of privacy concerns because it holds the prospect of identifying anonymous individuals in public and because the data collected may be susceptible to security breaches and hacking.

Therefore, the FTC staff report recommends that companies using facial recognition technologies:
• design their services having consumer privacy in mind;
• develop security protections for the information they collect and sound methods for determining when to keep information and when to dispose of it;
• consider the sensitivity of information when developing their facial recognition products and services – for example, digital signs using facial recognition technologies should not be set up in places where children congregate.

The staff report also recommends that companies ensure consumers are aware of facial recognition technologies when they come in contact with them and that they have a choice as to whether data about them is collected. Furthermore, the FTC staff mentions that social networks using facial recognition features should provide consumers with clear notice about how the feature works, what data it collects, and how that data will be used.

They also should provide consumers with the choice of not having their biometric data collected and used for facial recognition, and allow them to cancel the feature at any time and have the biometric data previously collected from their photos permanently deleted.

Finally, the report states, there are at least two scenarios in which companies should get consumers’ affirmative consent before collecting or using biometric data from facial images. First of all, they should obtain consent before using consumers’ images or any biometric data in a different way than they represented when they collected the data. Secondly, companies should not use facial recognition to identify anonymous images of a consumer to someone who could not otherwise identify him or her, without obtaining the consumer’s affirmative consent first.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop and avoid them.

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Keywords: The Federal Trade Commission, facial recognition technologies, online fraud, e-identity
Categories: Securing Transactions | Digital Identity, Security & Online Fraud
Countries: World
This article is part of category

Securing Transactions