New report provides blueprint for facial recognition tech regulation

sydney, September 26, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — A new report from the University of Technology Sydney’s (UTS) Institute for Human Technology outlines model laws for facial recognition technology to prevent harmful uses of the technology while promoting innovation in the public interest.

The widespread use of facial recognition was not considered when Australian law was drafted.Member of the University of Technology Sydney Professor of Industry Edward Santo and Nicholas Davisthe report recommends reforms to modernize Australian law, particularly to address threats to privacy and other human rights.

Facial recognition and other remote biometric technologies have grown exponentially in recent years, raising concerns about privacy, mass surveillance and injustice, especially when the technology goes wrong, for people of color and women.

exist June 2022Several major retailers in Australia are using facial recognition to identify customers entering their stores, an investigation by consumer advocacy group CHOICE has revealed, raising considerable community alarm and calls for better regulation.There are also widespread calls to reform facial recognition laws – in Australia and internationally.

This new report answers those calls. It recognizes that our faces are special because humans rely heavily on each other’s faces to recognize and interact. This reliance makes us particularly vulnerable to human rights restrictions when the technology is misused or overused.

“Facial recognition applications, when well designed and regulated, can bring real benefits, helping to identify people efficiently and at scale. The technology is widely used by people who are blind or visually impaired, making the world more accessible to these groups” before Professor Santo, the Australian Commissioner for Human Rights and now co-director of the Institute of Human Technology, said.

“This report proposes a risk-based model law on facial recognition. The starting point should be a way to ensure that facial recognition is developed and used to uphold people’s basic human rights,” he said.

“The loopholes in our current laws have created a kind of regulatory market failure. Many respected companies have withdrawn from offering facial recognition because consumers are not properly protected. Those companies that still provide services in the space need not be concerned about the fundamental rights affected by this technology affects people,” said Professor Davies, a former member of the Executive Committee of the World Economic Forum Geneva and co-director of the Institute of Human Technology.

“Many civil society organizations, government and intergovernmental bodies, and independent experts have warned about the dangers associated with current and anticipated use of facial recognition,” he said.

The report calls on Australia’s Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus Leading the national face recognition reform process. This should first introduce a bill to the Australian Parliament based on the model law set out in the report.

The report also recommends assigning regulatory responsibility to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner to regulate the development and use of the technology across federal jurisdictions, with a uniform approach across state and territory jurisdictions.

The Model Law addresses three levels of human rights risks to individuals affected by the use of specific facial recognition technology applications, as well as risks to the wider community.

Under the Model Law, anyone developing or deploying facial recognition technology must first assess the level of human rights risk applicable to its application. That assessment could then be challenged by the public and regulators.

Based on the risk assessment, the Model Law then sets out a cumulative set of legal requirements, restrictions and prohibitions.

that report, Facial Recognition Technology: Towards a Model LawCo-authored by Professor Nicholas Davisprofessor Edward Santoand Lauren Perry UTS Institute of Human Technology.

To access this report and other background material, visit

Source University of Technology Sydney

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