ACM Technology Policy Council TechBrief Spotlights Privacy, Ethics Problems with Facial Recognition Technology

ACM’s global Technology Policy Council has issued the second in its new series of TechBriefs. The new edition focuses on policy issues raised by facial recognition and its use by governments and the private sector. Noting that “facial recognition use is increasing despite the technology’s fundamental limitations, creating profound privacy and ethical challenges,” the Brief provides a primer on these technologies for policy makers and the public.

Key policy implications of facial recognition’s use highlighted in the Brief include: 

  • Facial recognition undermines privacy in new ways, including requiring individuals to avoid public spaces to opt out.
  • Facial recognition is insufficiently trustworthy in many high-stakes applications to replace identification by a human.
  • Errors by facial recognition systems continue to disproportionately and adversely affect women, minorities, and other marginalized populations.
  • Claims that facial recognition technology can be used for purposes other than identifying people, such as emotion recognition, are not scientifically justifiable. 

Read the press release.