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Privacy groups to quit US talks on facial recognition standards

Grant Gross | June 17, 2015
Nine privacy groups plan to withdraw from U.S. government-hosted negotiations to develop voluntary facial-recognition privacy standards because the groups feel the process would not lead to adequate privacy protections.

Still, one industry participant said Monday he remained optimistic that the NTIA process would produce a strong set of facial recognition privacy standards. Despite disagreements about the consent issues, participants have made a lot of progress, said Carl Szabo, policy counsel with NetChoice, an e-commerce trade group.

"We're getting to a point when we can start putting pen to paper," he said.

The final standards need to incorporate compromise from both industry and privacy groups, Szabo added. All the new privacy standards being negotiated are "actually limiting on business, in some capacity," he said.

Since mid-2012, the NTIA has convened for a series of negotiations related to technology and privacy, with the first meetings focused on mobile application privacy. The NTIA-led discussions produced a set of app privacy standards that some companies are now adopting, although two privacy groups declined to sign on to the final product.

In March, the NTIA announced it would next host negotiations on privacy standards for aerial drones.

 

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