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Privacy Caucus Echoes Facial Recognition Concerns

Add a number of members of the House Privacy Caucus to those concerned about the use of facial recognition and detection technology and its impact on consumer privacy.

In a letter to the Federal Trade Commission, seven members of the caucus, led by co-chairs Joe Barton (R-Texas) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.), said they shared the FTC's concerns with the technology – the FTC held a workshop on how the technology is being used and sought follow-up comment from the public.

"As companies continue to develop and deploy these new technologies, clear policies guiding the implementation, operation, and maintenance of these technologies is essential," the legislators wrote. "Companies must also be transparent about the usage of consumer's personal information. Finally, consumers should have the choice to affirmatively opt-in to being subject to facial recognition or detection."

The caucus did not seek any particular action from the FTC in the letter, beyond taking a deeper dive into an issue clearly already on its radar.

Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.) has already asked the FTC to report to Congress by Feb. 8 on the impacts of facial recognition software on privacy, citing experiments by Facebook, Apple and Google.