The latest COVID-19 privacy news from the EU, France, UK and US

(Apr 6, 2020) As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, here are the latest stories on how the outbreak has affected privacy: European Data Protection Supervisor Wojciech Wiewiórowski called for a "pan-European approach" for mobile apps used during the pandemic. The European Data Protection Board is working to produce guidance for processing data amid the crisis. U.K. National Data Guardian Fiona Caldicott highlights how the British "information governance framework" has been able to facilitate health data sha... Read More

Wash. facial-recognition bill signed into law

(Apr 1, 2020) Gov. Jay Inslee, D-Wash., signed a state facial-recognition bill into law, The Wall Street Journal reports. The law allows government agencies to use facial-recognition technology; however, restrictions are now put in place to ensure it is not used for broad surveillance purposes. Microsoft President Brad Smith praised the new Washington law and highlighted some of its key features in a blog post.Full Story... Read More

Microsoft ends investments in facial recognition startup

(Mar 30, 2020) Microsoft is divesting its stake in Israeli facial-recognition startup AnyVision and ceasing investments in companies that sell the technology, Reuters reports. Microsoft participated in a $74 million funding round for AnyVision but said, “the audit process reinforced the challenges of being a minority investor in a company that sells sensitive technology, since such investments do not generally allow for the level of oversight or control that Microsoft exercises over the use of its own technolo... Read More

Chinese facial-recognition tech works past masks

(Mar 26, 2020) Ars Technica reports Chinese facial-recognition company Hanwang has developed technology that can produce accurate face scans for masked individuals. Hanwang claims its system, which was developed in January, has 95% accuracy with its scans. The demand for the technology has increased exponentially amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with police stations, railway stations and other highly populated buildings seeking to add Hanwang's cameras. "We wouldn’t wait until something explodes to act. If three or... Read More

Facial recognition to monitor pedestrians at Texas border crossing

(Mar 25, 2020) U.S. Customs and Border Protection will begin using biometric facial-comparison technology to monitor pedestrians traveling through the Brownsville, Texas, border crossing, Government Technology reports. The technology will photograph each pedestrian traveler entering the U.S. and compare that image to passport and ID photos stored in government records. Privacy advocates argue the program violates travelers’ privacy rights, adding CBP is not following an opt-out policy for U.S. citizens.Full St... Read More

AI camera detects COVID-19 fever

(Mar 20, 2020) An Austin, Texas-based company’s artificial intelligence camera can detect those who may have a COVID-19-related fever, Fast Company reports. Athena Security’s camera system uses an AI model to view a subject’s inner eye, which can reflect body temperature. The thermal camera records an image of those with a fever. Athena CEO Lisa Falzone said the technology will be seen more in places like airports and hospitals where access depends on an individual’s temperature.Full Story... Read More

Facial-recognition cameras installed at Irish pitch in 2018

(Mar 19, 2020) The Dublin InQuirer reports closed-circuit TV cameras equipped with "deep learning" technology were installed at the Bluebell Road football pitch in 2018. The cameras use different artificial intelligence techniques to identify individuals, including facial recognition. Documents revealed the Dublin City Council did not conduct a data protection impact assessment before the cameras were put in place. A spokesperson for the council said it will perform a DPIA. Full Story... Read More

Op-ed: What we can learn from Clearview AI

(Mar 19, 2020) "A new competitor has entered the ring to dethrone Cambridge Analytica as the biggest privacy scandal of recent times: Clearview AI," writes Mode Analytics Head of Security and Privacy Rafae Bhatti, CIPP/US, CIPM. In this piece for Privacy Perspectives, Bhatti looks at why we should pay attention to Clearview AI and the lessons to be learned from the situation, including that not all data breaches come from the backdoor.Full Story... Read More

Motorola Solutions adds watch list controls to biometric software

(Mar 18, 2020) Motorola Solutions has added watch list controls to its facial-recognition video management software to enhance privacy and data management, reports. The software can create and manage multiple watch lists to identify threats and detect unusual movements. “We believe potential facial recognition matches should always be assessed and verified by a trained specialist who can then determine whether further investigation or action is necessary,” Video Security Solutions Senior Vi... Read More

ACLU sues federal agencies for records of facial recognition use

(Mar 13, 2020) The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Transportation Security Administration demanding records related to the government’s use of facial-recognition technology, The Washington Post reports. The Freedom of Information Act lawsuit asks a federal court to demand the agencies provide records on use of the technology, or plans for implementation, at airports an... Read More