Privacy Advocates Back Out Of Talks Over Regulating Facial Recognition Technology

Technology SecurityNine privacy advocate groups backed out of discussions this week with tech industry leaders that were being held to establish a voluntary code for how biometric data is collected and used. Companies like Facebook are intent on collecting as much information about users as possible, even including data on what users look like and how they behave.

The nine groups left the talks, which had been ongoing since Feburary 2014, for a simple reason: they couldn’t even get industry representatives to agree on an opt-in feature for users.

“We believe that people have a fundamental right to privacy. People have the right to control who gets their sensitive information, and how that information is shared,” the groups wrote in a joint statement. “And there is no question that biometric information is extremely sensitive. You can change your password and your credit card number; you cannot change your fingerprints or the precise dimensions of your face.”

The advocates also called out Facebook specifically for its privacy policy, noting that while the site uses facial recognition to make tagging photos easier, it also buries information about it in fine print. In order to even attempt to opt out, users would have to read the policy very carefully and realize what exactly they were agreeing to.