Facial Recognition in Public Spaces

Facial recognition in public spaces can read your face and your mood, and record other information about you.

Facial recognition in public spaces can read your face and your mood, and record other information about you, like how often to pass in a certain spot. Smart billboards are able to tailor their offerings based on this information. As a result, many people are beginning to question their level of comfort with this technology, its degree of use, and its impact on their lives.

In our latest Youtube Vlog “Facial recognition in public spaces” we explore the thoughts and ideas many people are already having regarding this new but quickly developing facial recognition technology, and its impact in our society. We also offer answers to its specific impact on you. You can take a look at our latest vlog here:

GDPR defines ‘profiling’ as“any form of automated processing of personal data consisting of the use of personal data to evaluate certain personal aspects relating to a natural person, in particular to analyse or predict aspects concerning that natural person’s performance at work, economic situation, health, personal preferences, interests, reliability, behaviour, location or movements.”

With regard to direct marketing from these smart billboards, the GDPR states that “Where personal data are processed for the purposes of direct marketing, the data subject should have the right to object to such processing, including profiling to the extent that it is related to such direct marketing, whether with regard to initial or further processing, at any time and free of charge.” They go on to state that ”That right should be explicitly brought to the attention of the data subject and presented clearly and separately from any other information”.

In addition to this and pursuant to article 35 GDPR, “Where a type of processing in particular using new technologies, and taking into account the nature, scope, context and purposes of the processing, is likely to result in a high risk to the rights and freedoms of natural persons, the controller shall, prior to the processing, carry out an assessment of the impact of the envisaged processing operations on the protection of personal data”.

Smart billboards are a new and intrusive technology that may process personal data about data subjects who may even not be aware of it, which limits their rights granted under the GDPR. We took a deeper look into this in our blog “Regulating the right to privacy in the AI era”.

Due to the privacy risks that facial recognition involves, according to a leaked EU Commission white paper, the EU may place a 3 to 5 year ban on facial recognition technology within public places. US, on its side, may also impose some measures in this regard, like a moratorium on federal government use of facial recognition technology until Congress passes legislation regulating it and a prohibition of using federal funds for this technology.

Does your company utilize facial recognition software to conduct profiling or direct marketing? Aphaia’s AI ethics assessments will assist in ensuring that it falls within the scope of the EU’s and UK’s ethical framework. Aphaia also provides both GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018 consultancy services, including data protection impact assessments, and Data Protection Officer outsourcing. Contact us today.

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