FTC Issues Best Practices For Facial Recognition Technologies

Author:Loeb & Loeb LLP's Advanced Media Technology Group
Profession:Loeb & Loeb LLP

The Federal Trade Commission issued a report called "Facing Facts: Best Practices for Common Uses of Facial Recognition Technology," which provides privacy and security suggestions for companies that use or plan to use facial recognition technology.  The report notes that the commercial use of facial recognition technologies is still young and that this creates a unique opportunity to encourage companies to protect consumers' privacy as they develop facial recognition products and services.

Facial recognition technologies have been adopted in a variety of contexts, ranging from online social networks and mobile apps to digital signs. According to the FTC's report, they have a number of potential uses, such as determining an individual's age range and gender in order to deliver targeted advertising; assessing viewers' emotions to see whether they are engaged in a video game or a movie; or matching faces and identifying anonymous individuals in images. These technologies also pose privacy challenges, including the ability to identify anonymous individuals in public and a susceptibility to security breaches and hacking.

The FTC staff report recommends that companies using facial recognition technologies:

1. Design their services with consumer privacy in mind.

2. Develop reasonable security protections for the information they collect, and establish appropriate retention and disposal practices for consumers' biometric information and images they collect.

3. Consider the sensitivity of information when developing their facial recognition products and services - for example, companies should consider carefully where to place digital signs equipped with cameras and avoid placing them in sensitive areas such as bathrooms, locker rooms, health care facilities, or places where children congregate.

4.Take steps to make sure consumers are aware of facial recognition technologies when they come in contact with them and that they have a choice about whether data about them is...

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