Today, NEC Corporation President and CEO Takashi Niino published the following essay regarding recent calls for government regulation and greater industry collaboration on facial recognition technology.
As a world-leading provider of facial recognition and other biometric, as well as information and communications technologies, NEC Corporation welcomes greater industry collaboration and effective discussion for the future of facial recognition technology and business. As a point of background, NEC produces face, iris, fingerprint, palm print, finger vein, voice and ear acoustic recognition technologies, and has over 700 biometric recognition installations in over 70 countries around the world.
In recent weeks, we’ve seen renewed calls for government regulation and discussions about how we as an industry can build a foundation of responsibility to protect people against discrimination, invasions of privacy and violations of human rights.
NEC Corporation welcomes this debate as we believe it will lead to solutions that can make our world a better place. Furthermore, we are eager to move the discussions forward.
As more companies come forward to add their voices to this dialogue, I believe we will start to see new and different roles that these technologies can play in protecting and improving our global communities.
In the United States, for example, the Department of Homeland Security is today using facial recognition technology at more than a dozen airports to positively identify travelers entering and exiting the country. Three days after the technology was introduced at Dulles International Airport, an imposter was stopped using a fake document. As recently as late November, the lead architect of this system from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reported that it had identified at least 36 imposters so far. Additionally, the first curb-to-gate biometric experience in the U.S. just launched at a major international airport terminal to a positive customer response, potentially changing the future of travel.
NEC, therefore, supports various governments’ considerations for reasonable policy, setting privacy standards for personal information and preventing unlawful discrimination related to this technology. Businesses, consumers, and the government should work together to help balance the need for privacy with the benefits of protecting our society, securing our borders and providing consumer convenience without the fear of negative consequences.
Accuracy is vitally important to the effectiveness of biometric technologies. At NEC, we are committed to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and their evaluations. NEC has a nearly decade-long leadership position and pedigree where NIST evaluations of our facial recognition technologies are concerned, and you can read more about it on our global Web site here.
In addition, NEC has established a “Digital Trust Business Strategy Division” to create and promote a strategy based on “Human Rights by Design,” considering the impact of the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) on society and the utilization of biometric information on human rights and privacy.
NEC seeks an adoption path for these technologies that is in line with the worldwide principals of freedom, justice, rights to privacy, transparency and continuous improvement. At NEC, we strongly believe that facial recognition can add significant value to our lives.
About NEC Corporation
NEC Corporation is a leader in the integration of IT and network technologies that benefit businesses and people around the world. The NEC Group globally provides “Solutions for Society” that promote the safety, security efficiency and fairness of society. Under the company’s corporate message of “Orchestrating a brighter world,” NEC aims to help solve a wide range of challenging issues and to create new social value for the changing world of tomorrow. For more information, visit NEC at http://www.nec.com.
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