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Lawmaker Says Facial Recognition Technology a Privacy Concern

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D W.Va.)

Privacy concerns are the reason Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), recently requested a report from the Federal Trade Commission on the security challenges of facial recognition technology.

According to NextGov.com, the chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee is working to help the committee update legislation on online privacy.

“I ask that the commission provide a report to the [committee] following the workshop, and that this report include potential legislative approaches to protect consumer privacy as this technology proliferates,” Rockefeller wrote to the FTC.

The FBI is looking to activate facial recognition services for authorities nationwide by January 2012. Currently, the law prohibits certain online companies from gathering personnel data from children under the age of 13 without parental consent.

As part of its plans to enforce its Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, the FTC proposed a rule last month that would broaden protections to ensure parental notification and parental approval of uploaded pictures of children.

“Given the prevalence and popularity of posting photos, videos and audio files online, the commission has reevaluated the privacy and safety implications of such practices as they pertain to children,” the draft said.

Rockefeller’s letter to the FTC mentioned Facebook’s “tag” feature, and Facebook has responded positively to saying they look forward to participating in the FTC’s Dec. 8 workshop. The workshop tackles issues that include whether consent should be required from individuals before their images are posted online.

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