Washington News Bureau

Report points to privacy, accuracy concerns with facial recognition technology

WASHINGTON — More businesses are using facial recognition technology than in previous years and now it’s even being used to help monitor the spread of COVID-19.

“The market is definitely growing,” said Alicia Puente Cackley, Director in the Financial Markets and Community Investment Team at the U.S. Government Accountability Office .

A new report from the GAO looks into privacy and accuracy concerns with the systems.

A big part of the concern is that there isn’t a federal privacy policy for how facial recognition technology should be used and the report is calling on Congress to set a comprehensive federal framework.


“There is no overarching federal privacy framework that allows you to consider new technologies as they come along,” Cackley said.

The report points to concerns about privacy and consent.

“The ability to know whether your image is being used, ability to correct information if it’s wrong if you’re in a database somewhere,” Cackley said.

The report also highlights concerns with accuracy with some systems.

It said facial recognition technology generally performs better on lighter-skin men and worse on darker-skin women.

It also doesn’t perform as well on children or the elderly, according to the findings.