Stakeholders to Vet Biometric Best Practices

The Obama Administration will take a crack at privacy guidelines for facial recognition technology Tuesday.

NTIA has circulated two sets of stakeholder draft guidelines in advance of a July 28 meeting with stakeholders.

It is the latest in a series of such meetings, convened by NTIA, to come up with voluntary regimes for enforcing the Administration's privacy bill of rights including mobile aps and facial recognition, to mixed reviews. The Administration has also proposed legislation to put some teeth into the bill of rights, but that is a tough ask in a Republican-controlled Congress. The facial recognition effort launched in February 2014.

NTIA says Tuesday's meeting is primarily meant to identify how those drafts dovetail, or don't, and discuss how the two could be resolved as well as identify outstanding issues. The guidelines deal with transparency and data protection.

Those stakeholders will not include a number of consumer groups, who pulled out of the process last month saying they did not see it coming up with adequate protections.

The groups are particularly concerned with what they see as an inability of the industry stakeholders to agree to any variation on an opt-in model, but also say their withdrawal should be taken as a signal to reevaluate the effectiveness of the multistakeholder process in general.

Among those pulling out were Center for Digital Democracy, the Center on Privacy and Technology, ACLU, Common Sense Media, Center for Democracy & Technology, Consumer Federation of America, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Consumer Action.

Elsewhere on the privacy meeting front, NTIA has planned its first meeting for Aug. 3 on coming up with privacy best practices for drone use. Consumer groups will have a chance to weigh in on that effort, though Center for Digital Democracy executive director has signaled he is not sanguine on the prospects given what he calls the "flawed" stakeholder process.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.