Face Facts: A Forum on Facial Recognition

What can you tell about someone just from their face?  Is it possible to take a picture of strangers and find out their name, where they’re from, and maybe even a portion of their Social Security number?  Shocking as it sounds, recent research suggests the answer could be yes.

Facial recognition technology — the ability to identify someone based on their facial characteristics — has been around for years, but remained largely in the realm of science fiction due to high costs and relatively poor accuracy.  Recently, however, technological advances have made the use of facial recognition more feasible, and consumers are beginning to see the technology rolled out for a variety of uses, ranging from online social networks to digital signs to mobile apps.

In light of the increased use of facial recognition technology, the FTC is planning a one-day workshop to bring together consumer protection organizations, academics, business and industry representatives, privacy professionals and others to examine the use of facial recognition technology and the issues it raises.  The workshop will take place on December 8, 2011 at the FTC’s Conference Center at 601 New Jersey Avenue, N.W., in Washington, D.C., and is free and open to the public.

If you’re interested in being involved in the discussion or have articles or other written material we should consider, email facefacts@ftc.gov.
 

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