Article from For Liberty by Norman Leahy.

From the “Big Brother really is watching you” files comes this story from The Hill about an effort to convince the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) to put a stop to federal use of facial recognition technology.

According to a Jan. 27 letter from a collection of civil liberty and tech organizations to the PCLOB, facial recognition technology is racing ahead of safeguards against abuse – particularly from government entities:

There is also growing concern that facial recognition techniques used by authoritarian governments to control minority populations and limit dissent could spread quickly to democratic societies. The European Union is moving forward a proposal to ban the use of facial recognition in public spaces, “for up to five years until safeguards to mitigate the technology’s risks are in place.”

The PCLOB has a unique responsibility, set out in statute, to assess technologies and polices that impact the privacy of Americans after 9-11 and to make recommendations to the President and executive branch.11 The rapid and unregulated deployment of facial recognition poses a direct threat to “the precious liberties that are vital to our way of life.”

Federal, state, and local governments already collect massive amounts of data on us (and has a rather poor track record of protecting it from hackers). Facial recognition is one more data set to add to that already enormous pile.

But not just yet. And certainly not until government use of such data is confined and contained.