Facial Recognition Technology: A Survey of Policy and Implementation Issues
Center for Catastrophe Preparedness and Response, New York University
Posted: 23 Jul 2009
Date Written: July, 22 2009
Facial recognition technology (FRT) has emerged as an attractive solution to address many contemporary needs for identification and the verification of identity claims. It brings together the promise of other biometric systems, which attempt to tie identity to individually distinctive features of the body, and the more familiar functionality of visual surveillance systems. This report develops a socio-political analysis that bridges the technical and social-scientific literatures on FRT and addresses the unique challenges and concerns that attend its development, evaluation, and specific operational uses, contexts, and goals. It highlights the potential and limitations of the technology, noting those tasks for which it seems ready for deployment, those areas where performance obstacles may be overcome by future technological developments or sound operating procedures, and still other issues which appear intractable. Its concern with efficacy extends to ethical considerations.
For the purposes of this summary, the main findings and recommendations of the report are broken down into five broad categories: performance, evaluation, operation, policy concerns, and moral and political considerations. These findings and recommendations employ certain technical concepts and language that are explained and explored in the body of the report and glossary, to which you should turn for further elaboration.
Keywords: facial recognition technology, biometrics, security, privacy, surveillance
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