Increased use of facial recognition in China poses privacy risks

(Jun 13, 2019) China is enjoying the benefits and simplification brought forth by the growing use of facial-recognition technology, but such booming growth also comes with privacy concerns, The Straits Times reports. As the technology evolves, it is becoming more invasive and collecting more data, leading Chinese legal analysts to believe improved legislation is necessary to regulate the growth. Acting on regulation now could be crucial as further expansion of facial-recognition tech is on the horizon. Shenzhe... Read More

Amazon joins call for regulation of facial-recognition tech in US

(Jun 13, 2019) The Seattle Times reports Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy said that his company supports and desires federal regulation on the misuse of facial-recognition software. Amazon joins fellow tech companies, including Microsoft and Google, that are calling for more policing of the tech. "Whether it’s private-sector companies or our police forces, you have to be accountable for your actions and you have to be held responsible if you misuse it," Jassy said. "I think the issue around facial-recognitio... Read More

Calif. Senate Dems vote to ban facial-recognition tech in body cameras

(Jun 12, 2019) California Senate Democrats voted to ban the use of facial-recognition technology in body cameras used by law enforcement, Courthouse News Service reports. The bill cleared the state Assembly last month and will see a final vote in the state Senate in the summer. Assembly Bill 1215 passed without any Republican votes in the Assembly before being passed through the state Senate committee. “What we don’t want is for communities to feel like they’re under surveillance 24 hours, 7 days a week when t... Read More

Cyberattack exposes CBP photos of travelers, license plates

(Jun 11, 2019) TechCrunch reports U.S. Customs and Border Protection discovered a data breach in May that exposed images containing photos of travelers and license plate numbers. “CBP learned that a subcontractor, in violation of CBP policies and without CBP’s authorization or knowledge, had transferred copies of license plate images and traveler images collected by CBP to the subcontractor’s company network,” the agency said in a statement. “Initial information indicates that the subcontractor violated mandat... Read More

NY bill would postpone facial recognition in schools

(Jun 10, 2019) A bill banning the use of facial-recognition technology in New York schools for a year has advanced to the state Assembly’s Standing Committee on Ways and Means, Government Technology reports. Legislators believe the state's Department of Education should study the technology more closely before implementing it in schools. "This issue needs to be explored further as we seek to balance safety and privacy of our schoolchildren, especially in respect to these new and emerging technologies to avoid ... Read More

Largest facial-recognition database pulled from web

(Jun 7, 2019) The Financial Times reports Microsoft has removed from the internet its MS Celeb, which was the largest public facial-recognition database in the world with 10 million images of 100,000 people. The photos within the database were used without the consent of subjects after being picked up online from search engines and videos under the terms of the Creative Commons license that allows photos to be recycled for academic purposes. "The site was intended for academic purposes. It was run by an emplo... Read More

Facial-recognition tech at Queensland stadiums sparks privacy concerns

(Jun 6, 2019) Stadiums Queensland, owner of nine sporting and entertainment venues in the Australian state, has subtly begun trials of facial-recognition technology at its locations, ABC News reports. An SQ spokeswoman said the software is in place "to identify patterns and anomalies in crowd behaviour [such as abandoned bags or long queues]." The quiet installation of the technology has drawn the attention of Queensland Privacy Commissioner Philip Green, who said the public deserves more information about SQ... Read More

Group launches protest against airlines using facial recognition

(Jun 6, 2019) Privacy activists initiated a campaign calling out airlines that use facial-recognition technology to scan passengers in coordination with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, The Hill reports. The group, Fight for the Future, hopes to encourage passengers to fly on airlines that don't use the technology. Despite assurances the program is only used to identify non-U.S. citizens who have overstayed their visas, the group is concerned the lack of federal regulations may lead to overreach. Currently... Read More

CBP: Airport facial recognition is not a surveillance program

(Jun 4, 2019) In spite of a recent push by cities to either ban or consider banning facial-recognition technology by use of law enforcement and other government agencies, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection says the technology used at U.S. airports is not a surveillance program, Nextgov reports. The technology is used in some capacity at 16 airports across the U.S., but the CBP expects to increase that to cover more than 97% of people flying outside the country. The technology used by the CBP compares real... Read More

Could the classroom help solve tech industry’s ethics problem?

(Jun 3, 2019) Many tech companies are working with a variety of ethics issues, ranging from the use of facial recognition to various content moderation issues. While these steps are promising, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Philosophy Professor Abby Everett Jaques believes more needs to be done, so she created a new class, Ethics of Technology, NPR reports. The class is designed to stress the importance of ethics to future computer scientists and engineers and is already having an impact on students by... Read More