FTC Lays Down Guidelines for Use of Facial Recognition Technology

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has put guidelines in place for companies looking to use facial recognition technology for commercial purposes. You can read the complete report here.

Facebook, perhaps the best-known fan of the technology, uses it to make tag recommendations when users upload photos to the platform.  The FTC’s guidelines are not law, but they are strong suggestions. Facebook has increasingly come under pressure, particularly in European countries, for its use of facial recognition technology, and more users are concerned that this futuristic technology poses a risk to their privacy.

The FTC has recommended that companies using facial recognition technology should notify their users that their faces are being scanned, and also let them know to what end that data is being used for. The commission also urged companies to take better care of the facial scan data once they have it, deleting information that they no longer need to prevent the risk of that data somehow being hacked or leaked. Mostly, the commission pushed for companies to obtain the consent of users, or at least notify them, before obtaining their biometric data.

Facebook, desperate to monetize its model, only allows users to turn off their Facial Recognition feature; however, a large public pushback in Europe recently forced the site to completely remove the feature in EU countries. Do you think that the FTC guidelines go far enough in telling companies what they should and should not be doing with users’ biometric data?

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