WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Chamber’s Technology Engagement Center (C_TEC) released facial recognition policy principles today to guide policymakers as they consider legislative proposals pertaining to the development and use of facial recognition technology. The seven guiding principles were released after gathering information from companies representing the technology, transportation, retail, travel, and security industries, and spanning facial recognition vendors, developers, users, and other key stakeholders.
“Facial recognition technology has enormous potential to transform entire industries, providing innovative benefits to consumers and enhancing personal safety and security for all Americans,” said Tim Day, senior vice president of C_TEC. “Many of these benefits are already being realized in the transportation, retail, hospitality, and financial services sectors, but we’ve only scratched the surface of what’s possible when we allow American businesses to do what they do best—innovate. The business community must lead the way to mitigate any risks and ensure the safe development and deployment of facial recognition technology.”
The goal of the policy principles is to encourage policymakers to appropriately mitigate any risks associated with the technology with the benefits it provides to consumers and the public.
The seven facial recognition policy principles include:
1. PRIORITIZE TRANSPARENT USE OF FACIAL RECOGNITION TECHNOLOGY: Commercial and government users should be transparent about when and under what circumstances the technology is used as well as the processes and procedures governing the collection, processing, storage, use, and transfer of facial recognition data.
2. PROTECT PRIVACY AND PERSONAL DATA: Policymakers should look to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Privacy Principles as a guide for pursuing privacy rules that fosters innovation while protecting human rights and civil liberties.
3. PROMOTE BENEFICIAL USES OF FACIAL RECOGNITION TECHNOLOGY WHILE MITIGATING RISKS: Policymakers should acknowledge the benefits of facial recognition technology and not support overly burdensome regulatory regimes, such as moratoriums or blanket prohibitions.
4. PURSUE A RISK-BASED AND USE-CASE SPECIFIC REGULATORY APPROACH: Regulation of facial recognition technology should be risk and performance-based, take into account specific use-cases, and consider the application of existing regulations and laws.
5. ESTABLISH A SINGLE NATIONAL GOVERNANCE AND REGULATORY FRAMEWORK: Congress should ensure a clear and consistent approach to the regulation and governance of facial recognition technology by developing a national framework governing the use of facial recognition technology.
6. SUPPORT THE DEVELOPMENT OF RISK-BASED PERFORMANCE STANDARDS: In accordance with existing law, the establishment of standards should be voluntary, industry-driven and consensus based and should be undertaken by existing, independent standard-setting bodies, such as the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST). Standards should be flexible, use-case and performance-based, and non-prescriptive.
7. ENSURE FEDERAL INVESTMENTS IN TESTING AND BENCHMARKING: To build public and consumer trust, policymakers should prioritize standardized testing and benchmarking through existing independent entities, like NIST. Policymakers should ensure NIST is provided with sufficient and modern resources to support testing and benchmarking efforts.
Additional details on each of the policy principles is available here.
In October, C_TEC organized a joint association letter to House and Senate leadership opposing a moratorium on the use of facial recognition technologies and encouraging Congress to establish a national set of rules governing its use.
Moving forward, C_TEC will continue to educate policymakers on the beneficial use cases of facial recognition technology and advocate for responsible policies on facial recognition technology.