Rep. Emanuel Cleaver Urges NIST to Endorse Facial Detection Tech Testing Standards

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) has called on the National Institute of Standards and Technology to recommend best practices and industry standards to facilitate tests of demographic biases related to facial recognition systems.

Cleaver made his request through a letter addressed to NIST Director Walter Copan, the congressman’s office said in a news release Tuesday.

“Facial recognition is a powerful tool that is permeating American life, and yet, the propensity of the technology to misidentify individuals, particularly in regard to variances in skin-type and gender, is well-documented,” Cleaver wrote in the letter.

“The potential for illegal discrimination and/or unfair practices resulting from such bias continues to concern lawmakers,” he added.

He also asked NIST to provide data sets that the agency offers to facial detection tech developers as well as measures it implements to “ensure that these data sets reflect demographic diversity and operational conditions.”

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