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January 25, 2021

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Facial Recognition

AnyVision offers 5 indications for fair, ethical and unbiased use of face recognition amidst rising public debate in the US

After participating in the recent “Facial Recognition: Challenges and Solutions” conference hosted by Fordham University Law School, AnyVision has offered five indications for fair, ethical and unbiased use of face recognition amidst a rising public debate in the United States.

The backdrop to this conference is the widespread public debate on the use of facial recognition technology – a debate encouraged by the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, which gained momentum in 2020 and continues to advocate for justice and equality in the US. At the same time, US state and city lawmakers have passed various laws restricting the use of technology in public spaces. In December alone, New York state temporarily banned facial recognition in schools and Massachusetts banned police use.

As with any new technology, valid questions have been raised and concerns voiced about computer vision’s application, as well as the regulatory frameworks that guide its use. AnyVision’s participation in this conference reflected its strong belief that facial recognition regulation will benefit from dialogue between legislators, communities, and the industry, and that soliciting input from as many stakeholders as possible is the best way to ensure that these technologies are fair, inclusive, reliable, as well as safe, transparent, secure and accountable.

Professor Shlomit Yanisky-Ravid, Visiting Professor at Fordham Law School and Yale Law School, said: “Facial Recognition is a controversial technology that we are all fond of using, but also like to hate. Many voices, including scholars, but more surprisingly, voices from the industry, have called to ban it. ACM’s US Technology Policy Committee (USTPC) has called for an immediate suspension of the current and future private and governmental use of facial recognition technologies. However, facial recognition is here to stay, and brings with it many benefits for business and society.”


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Professor Yanisky-Ravid added: “One of the main challenges that blocks the development and establishment of efficient regulation is the dialogue missing between the industry and regulators. The purpose of the Fordham Law CLIP Facial Recognition conference was to point out the balance between the risks and the benefits and more importantly, to build bridges between the industry and policy makers.”

Enrico Montagnino, VP of EMEA at AnyVision said: “Facial recognition technology is here to stay. I talk to organisations across every single industry, including law enforcement, who are looking to implement face recognition in order to create a safer, healthier environment for people without disrupting day-to-day operations. The challenge is to build a legal framework that will allow such systems to operate accurately and fairly.”

Based on its experience as a company that operates in hospitals, airports, and other public spaces in more than 45 countries around the world, AnyVision offers five indications for fair, ethical and unbiased use of face recognition technology:

  1. Using Diverse Data Sources – Fair facial recognition solutions must be trained on data sets that are diverse across race, ethnicity, age and gender and must be able to perform with the highest level of accuracy in real-world conditions.
  2. Dealing with Ethnic Bias – Facial recognition solutions must be devoid of algorithmic bias. In computer vision, without proper safeguards, bias may exist based on race or ethnicity, gender and age.
  3. Building Privacy Tools into the Technology – To ensure that users’ privacy is maintained, face recognition technology must eliminate risk of data breach by not storing information that could be traced back to an identity. These tools may include bystander blurring, dynamic data retention times and hard data deletes.
  4. Investing in an Ethics Framework – Ethical face recognition companies invest in both the internal framework and external oversight to ensure compliance with ethical, privacy and regulatory standards. This framework should be informed by regular dialogue with local and academic communities, elected officials and commercial stakeholders or end-users.
  5. Being Aware of the Potential for Misuse – A balanced approach is required to adequately address both the risks and benefits to ensure facial recognition is used responsibly, ethically and without bias and that computer vision-based products are subject to regulation and public safeguards”.

Montagnino added: “The legal framework for facial recognition is being written right now. In most countries there is still no appropriate regulation for the operation of facial recognition and artificial intelligence technology in general. Achieving a balanced regulatory framework that will allow public and private organizations to enjoy the benefits of technology, while protecting the public from unethical uses, bias and discrimination, and invasions of privacy requires cooperation between regulators, academic institutions and the technology industry.”

AnyVision welcomes any opportunity to contribute to this important conversation based on its experience in the market, and to share scientific research, information on regulatory changes around the world, and evidence of further developments in the field of facial recognition to support the use of this technology as a tool for good.

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