US lawmakers from both sides of the aisle joined forces to warn against facial recognition technology. They argued this artificial intelligence software poses a threat to Americans’ civil rights and privacy in an impassioned debate over its implications.
Concerns About Unregulated Technology
Congressional members have expressed concerns over the issue of unregulated technologies, citing its potential to compromise Americans’ privacy and freedom.
Despite their disagreements on other matters, both Democrats and Republicans voiced a unified stance in favor of introducing federal legislation that limits increasing risks posed by these unchecked innovations before it’s too late.
✈️ Former U.S. Army intelligence analyst @TheDroneWarrior weighs in on TSA rolling out facial recognition software for travelers in U.S. airports on 'Unfiltered with Dan Bongino.'https://t.co/hTfKKheqBm
— Cable News Watch (@CableNewsWatch) December 18, 2022
In a House Oversight Committee hearing, new research revealed the wide-reaching consequences of tech industry bias.
Led by Joy Buolamwini of MIT Media Lab’s AI Research Program and also presented at the hearing, this investigation showed facial recognition technology is far less accurate when scanning people of color than white individuals.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-NY) expressed concern that such largely inaccurate technologies have been created and sold to the public without greater consideration for race or its biases, especially in an industry where racial diversity has long gone overlooked.
Disturbingly enough, evidence even suggests police may be using celebrity lookalikes with distorted images in order to improve accuracy rates – proving just how ill-equipped these systems are outside their limited scope.
Positive Impact Versus Threat of Having a “Police State”
Daniel Castro, VP of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, has argued that a ban on police use of certain technologies would only inhibit authorities’ ability to protect local communities.
Instead of an outright prohibition, his organization is encouraging policymakers to strike a balance between proper testing oversight and allowing law enforcement access to criminal investigations.
In a historic move, San Francisco has become the first city in America to ban facial-recognition use by law enforcement.
This comes after mounting criticism of technology’s potential for misidentification and misuse that has prompted lawmakers across California and Massachusetts to explore similar bans.
Amazon Web Services General Manager of Artificial Intelligence Matt Wood stated that facial recognition technology can have a positive impact on society.
He said it has been utilized to detect victims of human trafficking. He further emphasized the value of transparency and accountability regarding its use, asserting Amazon’s commitment to working with Congress for assurance in protecting civil liberties.
Facial recognition surveillance is in wide use by police w/ little to no oversight.
Our Task Force of civil rights & civil liberties advocates, tech experts, & law enforcement offers commonsense solutions we need now to limit this dangerous tech: https://t.co/2NcO2anzs9 pic.twitter.com/cgOEe3NpYc
— The Constitution Project (@ConPro) October 15, 2019
In a landmark hearing on facial recognition surveillance, bipartisan support was demonstrated for the urgent need to put limits in place.
Jake Laperruque of watchdog group Project on Government Oversight noted its mass utilization affects hundreds of millions without adequate oversight, making it an unsustainable practice.
It is now up to Congress and other stakeholders to take necessary measures to protect citizens from undue monitoring with emerging technology.This article appeared in TheDailyBeat and has been published here with permission.