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The Computer Will (Literally) See You Now47:20
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Facial recognition technology is suddenly all over. The government’s push to rein it in has just blown up. What happens to your privacy?

In this file photo, a New York Police Department SkyWatch observation tower is stationed in midtown Manhattan, Wednesday, July 31, 2013 in New York. Behind it is a billboard filled with people's photographs. (AP)
In this file photo, a New York Police Department SkyWatch observation tower is stationed in midtown Manhattan, Wednesday, July 31, 2013 in New York. Behind it is a billboard filled with people's photographs. (AP)

Facial recognition technology takes privacy and personal identification issues to a whole new level. With enough cameras around and enough data, you can identify almost anyone – everyone – anywhere, anytime. It’s as good as fingerprints but requires no contact. Just a watchful, electronic eye. ID-ing you, wherever you go. Facebook and Google and US law enforcement have lots at work already. The Obama administration has been trying to hammer out privacy restraints. Last week, the privacy advocates walked out. This hour On Point: facial recognition and the future of privacy in America.
-- Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Andrea Peterson, technology policy reporter at the Washington Post. (@kansasalps)

Alvaro Bedoya, executive director of the Center on Privacy and Technology at the Georgetown University School of Law, where he is also an adjunct professor. (@alvarombedoya)

Carl Szabo, Policy Counsel at the e-commerce trade association NetChoice. Adjunct professor of privacy law at the George Mason School of Law. (@carlszabo)

From Tom’s Reading List

Washington Post: The government’s plan to regulate facial recognition tech is falling apart -- "Facial recognition is being used by the government and big tech companies free of federal regulation. Now, the government process trying to craft a voluntary code of conduct to govern the technology appears to be falling apart."

Guardian US: The facial recognition databases are coming. Why aren't the privacy laws? — "Will the rest of us have the right to our own faces when they get stored in search engines of the future? The US government is currently building the largest biometrics database in the world with Next Generation Identification, a system meant to help identify criminals. The FBI estimates that it will store over 50m faces images by 2015, according to documents obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation."

National Journal: Privacy Groups Boycott Administration's Facial Recognition Talks — "The Obama administration's push to restrict the commercial use of facial recognition technology suffered a severe setback Tuesday when privacy groups walked away in protest. The groups said in a statement that they saw no reason to continue the talks organized by the Commerce Department because the tech industry refused to agree to even modest limitations. Privacy advocates worry that companies could use facial recognition technology to deliver customized advertisements or even track people as they move through public spaces. And while it's easy to change a password, credit card number, or online account, it can be impossible to alter distinguishing facial features."

Read A Joint Statement Of Protest From Tech Privacy Advocates

This program aired on June 18, 2015.

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