Senators offer bill on facial recognition technology

A bipartisan pair of senators on Thursday introduced a bill that would regulate the commercial use of facial recognition technology, an issue that has gained steam as critics have raised civil rights concerns over the relatively unregulated technology.

Sens. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), members of the Senate Commerce Committee, introduced the first-of-its-kind legislation along with an endorsement from Microsoft and digital rights group the Center for Democracy and Technology.

“Consumers are increasingly concerned about how their data is being collected and used, including data collected through facial recognition technology,” Blunt said in a statement. “That’s why we need guardrails to ensure that, as this technology continues to develop, it is implemented responsibly.”

Under Schatz and Blunt’s bill, the Commercial Facial Recognition Privacy Act, companies would be required to gain peoples’ consent before using facial recognition technology in public places and before sharing any of their data with third parties.

It would also require human reviewers to test any products before they are implemented, an effort to weed out issues with algorithmic bias and accuracy before the technologies become available to the public.

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