Maloney dives headfirst into facial recognition

Rep. Carolyn Maloney,  Chair of the House Oversight and Reform Committee.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney,  Chair of the House Oversight and Reform Committee.
AFGE/Flickr
Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Chair of the House Oversight and Reform Committee.

Maloney dives headfirst into facial recognition

Rep. Maloney signalled that Congress could soon introduce legislation to regulate the use of facial recognition technology
January 16, 2020

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, the newly installed chair of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, signalled on Wednesday that Congress could soon introduce legislation to regulate the use of facial recognition technology. “Our committee is committed to introducing and marking up common sense facial recognition legislation in the very near future,” Maloney said in her opening statement at the committee’s third hearing examining the technology’s applications in both the private sector and by government entities. 

Facial recognition technology is being used for everything from school security to hiring decisions, and while some localities have moved to limit or ban its use – especially by law enforcement – there have been no federal regulations so far. “It is clear that despite the private sector’s expanded use of the technology, it’s just not ready for prime time,” Maloney said, citing a recent study that showed facial recognition algorithms misidentify minorities at almost 100 times the rate of white men. 

Committee members spoke to the need to regulate facial recognition “in a bipartisan way,” though it’s not yet clear what those regulations would look like. President Donald Trump recently released proposed guidelines for artificial intelligence regulation, which some characterized as a light touch, appearing to be mostly focused on not letting regulations get in the way of innovation.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who also sits on the Oversight committee, expressed concern about how companies are able to scrape photos of people from the internet without consumers’ knowledge to power facial recognition. “This is some real life ‘Black Mirror’ stuff that we’re seeing here,” Ocasio-Cortez said.

For the rest of today's tech news, head over to First Read Tech.

Annie McDonough
Annie McDonough
is a tech and policy reporter at City & State.
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