The US Fight Over Facial Recognition Explained

By Charles Rollet, Published Jul 08, 2020, 08:55am EDT (Info+)

The controversy around facial recognition has grown significantly in 2020, with Congress members and activists speaking out against it while video surveillance industry players such as SIA have pushed back or remained quiet in this contest.

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This report explains who the major actors are in this issue, what their positions are and what the potential legal ramifications may be so you can better understand how this may evolve over the next few years.

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Comments (22)

I read your integrator survey as well. Both are excellent. Given the current environment, I would imagine that many organizations would be hesitant to step up their FR. I have personally tested several options and do find that those with darker skin tones are more difficult to positively ID. That was just a fact. Even if the use of FR does not lead to an arrest, how difficult is it to explain why a person of interest was missed or misidentified because of possible flawed algorithms? And it is not always algorithms. I also have found that shadows blending in with darker skin tones make positive ID's more difficult.

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Great report... very informative

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I disagree, we have had our facial recognition now at one location for more than 2 years and difference in lightness or darkness of skin has not play any difference in % accuracy. Neither did wearing glasses or having or not having a beard.

BUY BETTER CAMERAS OR POSITION THEM WHERE THEY GET A BETTER PICTURE!

In our location, we have more than 2000 people entering on an average daily and it is very successful in recognizing people that have committed theft in multiple stores and immediately within a couple of minutes, management notifications sent to team about person that has entered. If people don't like this, then don't steal, go to work, and make a living. However these are the same people that stand in line at McDonalds and say, the guy behind me is paying for my meal.

Makes sense that MA and CA have an issue with facial recognition since they have an issue with everything anyway so what's new.

The Senate will not pass a law nationally not to use facial recognition because then body cams and cameras in police cars would not be allowed which are needed for protection of people and police.

The technology is here, it works and performs well, using pictures, photos or video if pixel count is adequate.

Additional Keys are having strong database, great software, features, ease of use, and great cameras. And all of these we have today.

Facial recognition has its place, its time people that vandalize and steal are prosecuted.

I hate seeing on the news, "do you recognize this person and the camera is junk and the picture is useless!".

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imo, the larger part of the story is how the technology is unregulated - which you ignored in your response.

even if the tech isn't fully mature (skin hues read differently), it certainly will be eventually. your experience shows that it works pretty damn well already if deployed in a manner that limits the weaknesses of FR (like lighting variances).

however, nobody is complaining that it shouldn't be used to identify known criminals entering establishments...

instead, with no regulation on the use of this technology, you can be assured that FR will be used in other ways with no oversight of those using the technology - like suppression of dissent, limiting free speech, profiling of ethic groups, erosion of privacy rights, etc.

notice that LPR is included with FR in some of these municipal bans - for the same reasons.

the problem isn't that it shouldn't be used - just that how it is used should be transparent - and within a regulated 'legitimate use' frame work.

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I didn't mention regulation because I don't care if someone is watching me if I am in their store, so what? AS long as I am not stealing, who should care. Cameras in US are used for 3 reasons, deter crime, prosecution of people that commit crimes and save lives. Duh!

If you don't want to go into a store with cameras, then go elsewhere, it not your cost going up if someone steals from the store. It is not your insurance when someone gets hurt, What about the rights to make a living!

What part of my info said product wasn't mature, have you installed it, used it. I suggest until you do, listen to those using the product successfully.

Limiting free speech. Next you will say, there is a bird chirping and people cant hear me talk, so that is bothering my free speech, well what about the bird?. IS your next plan, to govern what birds can be around you when you are anywhere., or we need to get rid of birds.

You want regulation and government control your way!

We are not China where cameras are watching every move because they are afraid someone will say something bad about Communism. They don't want Democracy, so they put a finger on every movement.

We need to be protected but you don't want it, but yell the loudest when someone steals from you or bothers you.

ALPR is needed, crimes could have been prevented, kept people from being killed if someone had known a person has arrived , parked in a parking lot at their facility that had an ax to grind. I can name several examples. People could have been saved at schools, same way.

Are you also against cameras at schools? if not, does this mean only if you regulate them.

Again, you want control without examining reasons and needs,

FYI, I am of a minority group.

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UM#2 giving a master class in straw man and false equivalency arguments. Doesn't understand today's ally may be considered tomorrow's enemy.

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at the risk of UM#2 responding as if I am advocating the killing of babies, I see that the US Customs and Border Protection has recently issued an updated Privacy Impact Statement that details how they are using LPR data.

While you can agree or disagree with how they are using this tech (including using plate reads from commercial entities outside of their own LPR camera reads), at least they are trying to (or having to) be transparent.

I am an advocate of this transparency.

and for the record: I love babies.

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The idea that Chinese camera operators are ‘bad’ but USian operators ‘good’ is some real ignorant stuff.

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Portland, Oregon might be joining this list with one of the more restrictive bans which would prohibit facial recognition in "privately owned businesses and spaces accessible to the public".

Portland’s Radical Facial Recognition Proposal Bans the Tech From Airbnbs, Restaurants, Stores, and More

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Democratic mayor , all that needs to be said.

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Democrat mayor ,

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UPDATE: Portland, Oregon has passed what media is reporting to be the "toughest" and "broadest" face rec ban as it prohibits not only government/police usage but also use by public facing businesses ("private entities in places of public accommodation"). The government ban is now in effect and the private business ban starts on January 1, 2021.

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Atlas of Surveillance: Documenting Police Tech in Our Communities - an EFF Project

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UPDATE: 15 members of Congress - all Democrats - now publicly support the Facial Recognition and Biometric Technology Moratorium Act. To keep track, Fight For The Future has a Congressional Scoreboard.

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UPDATE: Portland, Maine is the latest city to ban local government facial recognition usage. I've added it to the list in this article and will keep adding as more cities/localities ban the tech.

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And again, the Governor is Democrat. What has changed? NADA!

I believe in the right of citizens but we also have rights to prosecute those that commit crimes against other citizens. Quality cameras and a good system that can compare live video, pictures, ect…. is here and works. Add this to good police work and you have prosecution. I have spent time on that side too.

Facial recognition is not only a deterrent, it helps justice. Do we want to be like China in regards to facial recognition, no. However, there is a way to regulate usage and that will happen.

Most cameras today and I mean most, can t put enough pixels in a given area for facial recognition. Some say 45 pixels per foot, others will say more. "Not getting into that"

Using facial recognition in court has not been very successful but in the near future, nearly every camera will be a PTZ, ( this will happen and take it to the bank ) fixed and VF lens are being replaced by auto focus zoom, now 3 axis, ect…..

I have clients today that are installing only mini PTZs due to downward cost and they too see the writing on the wall. Yes, more cost but they do the job.

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IBM has submitted a letter to the US government calling for export control of facial recognition used in 1 to many applications, e.g., video surveillance, saying:

IBM has today submitted specific recommendations to the U.S. Department of Commerce for limiting the export of facial recognition systems in specific cases. Consistent with our call last year for Precision Regulation, we have suggested that the tightest restrictions be placed on end uses and end users that pose the greatest risk of societal harm.

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misclassifies trans people?

how could an analytic possibly be expected to correctly classify a biological male or female that identifies as their non-biological sex?

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