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Five Key Face Recognition Technology Governance Challenges

Face recognition technologies have become increasingly integrated into day-to-day life. People use them to unlock phones, facilitate financial transactions, and move through airports. Companies use them to enable secure and contactless office building access control, log employee time, and track employee movements. Museums use them to provide customized experiences to visitors. Entertainment venues use them to offer event attendees ticketless entry. Law enforcement agencies use them to help generate investigative leads. Other government agencies and banks use them for remote identity verification. These are just a few of many examples.

Yet, despite face recognition technologies’ increasing ubiquity, public discourse in the United States (and around the world) reveals ongoing confusion about the different types of face recognition technologies, how they work, how well they perform, and which benefits and risks they can produce across various use cases. This confusion often inhibits constructive discourse about the technologies and potential approaches to governing their design, development, use, and oversight.

This series of blogs and explainer pieces examines five challenges that Members of Congress face when working to advance face recognition technology legislation amidst the crowded and cacophonous policy landscape:

  1. Many terms and definitions
  2. Many functional applications
  3. Many use cases
  4. Many ways to assess technical accuracy and performance
  5. Many sociotechnical risks and benefits that differ depending on the accuracy and performance of the technology, functional application, and use case
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