The legislation would impose an unnecessary blanket ban and prevent government from leveraging the proven benefits of biometric and related image analytics.
SILVER SPRING, Md. – The Security Industry Association (SIA) – the leading trade association representing security solutions providers – has announced its strong opposition to the Facial Recognition and Biometric Technology Moratorium Act, originally introduced in 2020 and reintroduced June 15 by Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.). SIA publicly opposed the bill’s initial introduction, which largely resembles the version put forth in the 117th Congress.
The legislation would impose a blanket ban on most federal, state and local use of nearly all biometric and related image analytics technologies, which threatens the legitimate, documented benefits of facial recognition technologies used by law enforcement, including:
- Identifying individuals who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6
- Reuniting victims of human trafficking with their families and loved ones
- Detecting use of fraudulent documentation by non-citizens at air ports of entry
- Aiding counterterrorism investigations in critical situations
- Exonerating innocent individuals accused of crimes
“Rather than impose sweeping moratoriums, SIA encourages Congress to propose balanced legislation that promulgates reasonable safeguards to ensure that facial recognition technology is used ethically, responsibly and under appropriate oversight and that the United States remains the global leader in driving innovation,” said SIA CEO Don Erickson.
Such approaches and recommendations have been reflected in the following areas supported by SIA:
- The U.S. Innovation and Competition Act – applauded by SIA earlier this month following its passage in the Senate – which authorizes the National Science Foundation (NSF) to disburse funds for research and development initiatives on key technology areas, including biometrics
- Increased funding to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Image Analysis Unit, which will expand NIST’s testing infrastructure and computing power necessary to enhance NIST’s Facial Recognition Vendor Test Program
- Direct additional NSF funding to historically Black colleges and universities, Hispanic-serving institutions and other minority institutions to develop interdisciplinary research focused on facial recognition algorithmic development to provide students with firsthand knowledge about the challenges and opportunities presented by these advanced technologies, including issues surrounding performance differentials and bias mitigation
SIA is committed to promoting policies that support innovation in security and life safety technologies and supports U.S. leadership in key technology areas, including biometrics. In May, SIA joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a group of other associations in sending a letter to President Biden expressing concern with blanket moratoriums on facial recognition and advocating for a combination of technological safeguards and policy measures to effectively mitigate any risks associated with the technology and ensure that it is developed and used responsibly.
SIA also recently sent a letter to President Biden and Vice President Harris urging the administration and Congress to consider policies that enable American leadership in developing biometric technologies; issued policy principles that guide the commercial sector, government agencies and law enforcement on how to use facial recognition in a responsible and ethical manner; released comprehensive public polling on support for facial recognition use across specific applications; and published a list of successful uses of the technology.
SIA is the leading trade association for global security solution providers, with over 1,100 innovative member companies representing thousands of security leaders and experts who shape the future of the security industry. SIA protects and advances its members’ interests by advocating pro-industry policies and legislation at the federal and state levels, creating open industry standards that enable integration, advancing industry professionalism through learning and development, opening global market opportunities and collaborating with other like-minded organizations. As the premier sponsor of ISC Events expos and conferences, SIA ensures its members have access to top-level buyers and influencers, as well as unparalleled learning and network opportunities. SIA also enhances the position of its members in the security marketplace through SIA GovSummit, which brings together private industry with government decision makers, and Securing New Ground, the security industry’s top executive conference for peer-to-peer networking.