European Proposal to Ban Facial Recognition Is Misguided and Harmful, Says ITIF

October 6, 2021

WASHINGTON—In response to the European Parliament adopting a non-binding resolution calling for a ban on facial recognition, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), the leading think tank for science and technology policy, released the following statement from Daniel Castro, vice president of ITIF:

Facial recognition technology helps law enforcement keep communities safe, allows individuals with certain disabilities to recognize friends and colleagues, and has many valuable commercial applications. Today’s resolution calling for a moratorium on the use of facial recognition by law enforcement and a ban on their use of private facial recognition databases would undermine efforts to effectively respond to crime and terrorism in Europe.

The best performing facial recognition systems have been shown to be highly accurate on adults across all demographics and outperform humans in the same task. In addition, the resolution’s call for a permanent prohibition on the use of technology to recognize or analyze biometrics in public places would significantly impact the viability of deploying commercial technologies like augmented reality in the EU.

Rather than calling for bans on the technology, the EU should focus on developing safeguards for the appropriate use of the technology by law enforcement, performance standards for facial recognition systems used by the government, and effective enforcement of its existing privacy laws.

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European Proposal to Ban Facial Recognition Is Misguided and Harmful, Says ITIF