At a July hearing on facial recognition technology, Minn. Sen. Al Franken expressed his concerns about the technology and its possible abuse by the government and law enforcement agencies.
Franken, who serves as chairman of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law, feels that facial recognition technology poses “acute privacy concerns that fingerprints do not.”
His concern was directed at a number of targets including the FBI, FTC as well as Rob Sherman, manager of Privacy and Public Policy for Facebook.
Franken’s fear is that facial recognition technology will wrongfully invade the privacy of the American public. The technology’s abuse by law enforcement would allow for the identification of protesters at rallies and “make them the target of selective jailing.”
The Federal Trade Commission was also a subject of Franken’s discussion, specifically the agency’s efforts to implement best practices for privacy assurance. Franken believes that companies should obtain customer consent prior to acquiring their biometric data.
Social networking site Facebook incorporates facial recognition technology in the site’s photo tagging feature. The feature comes standard with membership, but Franken feels that the service should be a choice for the user – an opt-in feature – rather than a default.
To support his argument Franken cited Facebook’s privacy page, which fails to mention facial recognition. Franken also criticized the difficulty associated with navigating the site’s privacy controls.
Read the full Verge article here.