FTC Seeks Public Comments on Facial Recognition Technology

For Your Information

Federal Trade Commission staff is seeking public comments on the issues raised at a recent FTC workshop exploring facial recognition technology and the privacy and security implications raised by its increasing use.

The December 8, 2011, public workshop, "Face Facts: A Forum on Facial Recognition Technology," focused on the current and future commercial applications of facial detection and recognition technologies, and explored an array of current uses of these technologies, possible future uses and benefits, and potential privacy and security concerns. The agenda for the workshop can be found here, and an archived webcast of the proceedings is viewable here. The deadline for filing comments is January 31, 2012, and instructions for filing can be found near the bottom of this press release.

Facial detection and recognition technologies have been adopted in a variety of new contexts, ranging from online social networks to digital signs and mobile apps. Their increased use has raised a variety of privacy concerns. To further the Commission's understanding of the issues, the Federal Trade Commission staff seeks public comments on issues raised at the workshop, including but not limited to:

  • What are the current and future commercial uses of these technologies?
  • How can consumers benefit from the use of these technologies?
  • What are the privacy and security concerns surrounding the adoption of these technologies, and how do they vary depending on how the technologies are implemented?
  • Are there special considerations that should be given for the use of these technologies on or by populations that may be particularly vulnerable, such as children?
  • What are best practices for providing consumers with notice and choice regarding the use of these technologies?
  • Are there situations where notice and choice are not necessary? By contrast, are there contexts or places where these technologies should not be deployed, even with notice and choice?
  • Is notice and choice the best framework for dealing with the privacy concerns surrounding these technologies, or would other solutions be a better fit? If so, what are they?
  • What are best practices for developing and deploying these technologies in a way that protects consumer privacy?

Public comments can be filed in electronic form by clicking here or in paper form by following the instructions located here. Paper comments should refer to "Face Facts: A Forum on Facial Recognition -- Project Number P115406" and include this reference both in the text and on the envelope. They should be mailed or delivered to the Federal Trade Commission at the following address: 600 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W., Room H-113 (Annex P), Washington, DC 20580. Because all comments will be made publicly available on the FTC website, please do not include any trade secrets, confidential information, or sensitive personal information. The FTC is requesting that comments filed in paper form be sent by courier or overnight service, if possible, because U.S. postal mail in the Washington, DC area and at the Commission is subject to delay due to heightened security precautions.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC's online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC's website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. Like the FTC on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Contact Information

MEDIA CONTACT:
Office of Public Affairs
202-326-2180
STAFF CONTACT:
Amanda Koulousias
Division of Privacy and Identity Protection
202-326-3334