Looking for Guidance on Facial Recognition Policies & Deployment? Check Out These New Resources From ALEC & BSIA

facial recognition being used on mobile device

The Security Industry Association (SIA) believes all technology products, including facial recognition, must only be used for purposes that are lawful, ethical and nondiscriminatory. As demonstrated throughout its 30+-year history of development, facial recognition technology offers tremendous benefits to society when used effectively and responsibly. Industry has a duty to ensure that advanced technologies, particularly those enabled by artificial intelligence and machine learning, are used in a responsible manner consistent with our values and with appropriate safeguards.

Two prominent membership organizations – the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) – have each issued helpful principles on facial recognition. We encourage SIA members, end users, policymakers and other stakeholders to read and utilize the resources in their work.

On Jan. 8, ALEC – the nation’s largest state legislator organization – released its Statement of Principles on Facial Recognition Policy, which encourages policymakers to appropriately distinguish between public- and private-sector adoption and implementation of facial recognition.

“When looking at government adoption, for example, federal and state constitutions likely place limits on how the technology may be used,” says the statement. “In the private sector, though, many of the benefits rely on agreements from individuals and offer to those individuals increase security, safety and convenience.”

ALEC’s principles urge policymakers to avoid one-size-fits-all frameworks; favor voluntary codes of conduct over government regulations; ensure that government only use facial recognition for “legitimate, lawful and well-defined purposes”; include privacy protections in deployment of facial recognition technology; be transparent about when and for what purposes the technology will be used; employ human oversight and review in identification processes aided by the technology; and use facial recognition only in ways that are nondiscriminatory. Read the full statement for further details on these principles.

On Feb. 1, BSIA’s video surveillance section launched an ethical and legal use guide for automated facial recognition (AFR). The first-of-its-kind guide follows recommendations on responsible use of artificial intelligence by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and focuses on distinctive application types verification “is it you?”) and identification (“who is it?”).

Key components of the BSIA guide include explaining why and how AFR is used; key terms, definitions and abbreviations; governance and compliance; operational requirements; data privacy; storage and retention; and reference databases. The guide also suggests additional references on biometrics, data protection regulations and more. Read the guide here.

In August 2020, SIA released its own policy principles for the development and deployment of facial recognition technology. These principles emphasize the importance of transparency, establishing a clear and defined purpose for use of facial recognition, use of high-performing technology, the incorporation of human oversight, protecting data security, ensuring privacy by design, training and educating technology users, improving or eliminating biased or discriminatory software and maintaining ethical acquisition of the technology. Read SIA’s principles here.