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CBS News – Facial recognition software is scanning you where you least expect it

CBS News – Facial recognition software is scanning you where you least expect it

Carl Szabo, policy counsel for NetChoice, an e-commerce trade association, which includes Yahoo, Google and Facebook, argued that the consent demand made little sense when the software is being used increasingly to track criminals.

“Having a default for consent doesn’t necessarily make sense for all the different uses of facial recognition technology,” Szabo said. “For example, if you had to have a default option for facial recognition technology to identify known shoplifters, I don’t know a single criminal who would opt in.”

Rather than consent, Szabo said the industry would be willing to embrace increased transparency – requiring a store, for example, to post signs when it is using facial recognition technology.

“If it turns out consumers love it, they will embrace it. If they hate it, they will walk away and that store will stop doing it,” Szabo said.

“I don’t think we are there yet for any calls for legislation,” Szabo said. “Theoretical fears make for bad laws. We also don’t want to strangle this new technology.”

But Szabo acknowledged that a failure to do anything at all could come back to haunt the industry. Fresh talks are scheduled for July and Szabo said he was optimistic guidelines could be finalized in the “near term.”

“Without guidelines, the risk exists that consumers may become fearful of an otherwise beneficial technology and legislators would over-regulate a burgeoning technology before it has a chance to shine,” he said.