Testimony Before the House Oversight Committee on Commercial Use of Facial Recognition Technology

Daniel Castro January 15, 2020
January 15, 2020

There are many positive uses of facial recognition technology emerging in the private sector:

  • Airlines are using it to help travelers to get through the airports faster, saving people time and hassle.
  • Banks are using it to improve security, helping reduce financial fraud.
  • Hospitals are using it to verify the right patients receive the right treatments, preventing medical errors.
  • There is even an app that uses facial recognition on dogs and cats to help find lost pets.

Recent calls for bans or moratoriums on facial recognition are misguided and would have negative economic and social consequences. Even narrow bans can have unintended consequences, given the widespread integration of facial recognition technology in many products and services. Congress should instead focus on steps to improve oversight and accountability in commercial applications.

It is always important for Congress to consider the impact of new technologies and ensure there are proper guardrails in place to protect society’s best interests. In the case of facial recognition technology, there are many unambiguously beneficial opportunities to use the technology. Congress should therefore support positive uses of facial recognition technology while limiting potential misuse and abuse.