The Federal Trade Commission is seeking comments on Facial Recognition Technology

Discussion in 'Civil Rights & Privacy' started by Sunny Goth, Jan 9, 2012.

  1. Sunny Goth

    Sunny Goth Original Member Coach

    The comments are due by January 31st, 2012. Anyone can comment and the comments don't have to be long - a couple of paragraphs or a page is fine.

    FTC Seeks Public Comments on Facial Recognition Technology

    • What are the current and future commercial uses of these technologies?
    • How can consumers benefit from the use of these technologies?
    • What are the privacy and security concerns surrounding the adoption of these technologies, and how do they vary depending on how the technologies are implemented?
    • Are there special considerations that should be given for the use of these technologies on or by populations that may be particularly vulnerable, such as children?
    • What are best practices for providing consumers with notice and choice regarding the use of these technologies?
    • Are there situations where notice and choice are not necessary? By contrast, are there contexts or places where these technologies should not be deployed, even with notice and choice?
    • Is notice and choice the best framework for dealing with the privacy concerns surrounding these technologies, or would other solutions be a better fit? If so, what are they?
    • What are best practices for developing and deploying these technologies in a way that protects consumer privacy?
    And you know what? It's been my experience that you don't have to answer those questions if you have other more pressing issues that you want to discuss.

    Information about submitting comments can be found at the link.
  2. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    Here's what I submitted:

    The increasing surveillance of citizens going on in this country is worrisome. When it happens in other countries, we use the term "police state." But somehow we're supposed to accept it here as benign. It's not.

    I object to the use of this technology to spy on us. No matter how many bromides and platitudes about "proper use" and "respecting privacy" are trotted out, the fact is that spying is what this is all about.

    As Erik Larson pointed out 20 years ago in his book "Naked Consumer: How Our Private Lives Become Public Commodities," data collected for one purpose WILL, ALWAYS, be merged with other data and used for other purposes, including purposes that harm people. This is a hard and fast rule. And information is "confidential" only until someone decides it's not.
  3. Elizabeth Conley

    Elizabeth Conley Original Member

  4. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    They haven't come to a decision yet. That's why they're soliciting public comment.
  5. Elizabeth Conley

    Elizabeth Conley Original Member

    OK. So exactly what effect are public comments supposed to have on their "decision?" They claim they haven't decided, but I don't see that we have any true input. Is there any proof that public commentary has ever effected an agencies decision?

    Remember, the TSA doesn't even bother.
  6. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    Have no idea. I figured I'd toss in my 2 cents' worth anyway.
  7. Sunny Goth

    Sunny Goth Original Member Coach

    No, no. They aren't going to use this technology themselves - they're asking questions about it so that when it's deployed in products (and other uses) the FTC can better understand the privacy issues associated with the technology.

    In some cases facial recognition technology may be beneficial, but maybe the consequences outweigh those benefits. They want to understand the costs/benefits.

    Here's an example. I know that one of the topics they discussed at the workshop was digital signage - billboards that are in public places that can recognize faces and then show you an appropriate ad. It doesn't recognize you in particular (yet) but it can recognize that you're female and over a certain age. It will then show you an ad appropriate for your gender and age group. A teen boy would be shown something else. What are the privacy implications of such signage and what should the FTC do (if anything) to regulate that type of signage? Follow on questions could be - is any data about the person standing in front of the billboard collected? How long is that data stored? Is it shared with anyone? Police perhaps - to show that I was in a particular place at a particular time? If data is stored, is it secured? How secure? How hackable?

    The FTC is supposed charged with consumer protection. With regards to privacy protection, they've largely accepted industry's self-regulation approach, with some exceptions. Face recognition is so intrusive and has so many ramifications that they decided to hold a workshop in December and then follow up with this request for comments.
  8. nachtnebel

    nachtnebel Original Member

    This particular area is going to be a HUGE arena of contention going forward. The capabilities are extremely useful to both the consumer and the advertiser/merchant, yet this information needs to be kept private and not data-mined to provide a detailed picture of you to other parties. If only a bot sees this stuff, I'm cool with it. If some slimeball at DHS can dial it up whenever he wants, or even with some lame "letter" and know every d*mned thing about me, this is horrible.
  9. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Local authoritarians are just itching to tie this in with cameras on the street. They'll have a picture of your every move, and a name to go with it.
  10. Elizabeth Conley

    Elizabeth Conley Original Member

    Exactly. They're not the only "law enforcement" who are slavering to use this. I'm betting every State and Federal Agency would be euphoric to use this technology against the population - for our own good of course. The FDA has SWAT teams for cryin' out loud! We need a new word to describe "government by the criminally insane." (Nutocracy, Psychopathocracy...I dunno. Waddayathink?)

    The FCC "takes comments" for a bit, then does whatever the Executive Branch planned from the beginning. Without the REINS Act the Legislative Branch never weighs in, and with so much of what federal agencies do immune to genuine judicial review there's no hope the Judicial Branch will rescue us either.

    We're in deep :trash: if we don't find a political solution soon. Unlike Janie Nutolitano and John Pissy, I am no "Domestic Terrorist." I have no plans to engage in criminal activity in order to further my vision of the future. I want a political solution that preserves the U.S. Constitution for our posterity.

    Trust in government quite naturally errodes when the Feds are willing to irradiate us at the airport and border crossings. That's evil, pure and simple. Who dreams this stuff up?
  11. nachtnebel

    nachtnebel Original Member

    I think so. Full control, on demand total transparency of you to them is becoming a sick fetish in this country.
    Lisa Simeone likes this.

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