Insights Council of Europe calls for strict regulation over facial recognition technologies

The Council of Europe has called for strict rules to avoid the significant risks to privacy and data protection posed by facial recognition technologies and said that certain applications of facial recognition should be banned altogether to avoid discrimination.

The Council has published a new set of guidelines for governments, legislators and businesses, proposing that the use of facial recognition for the sole purpose of determining a person’s skin colour, religious or other belief, sex, racial or ethnic origin, age, health or social status should be banned. The ban should also be applied to “affect recognition” technologies, which can identify emotions and be used to detect personality traits, inner feelings, mental health condition or workers´ level of engagement, since they pose important risks in fields such as employment, access to insurance and education.

The guidelines also state that the use of covert live facial recognition technologies by law enforcement should only be acceptable if strictly necessary and proportionate to prevent imminent and substantial risks to public security that are documented in advance. Further, private companies should not be allowed to use facial recognition in uncontrolled environments, such as shopping centres, for marketing or private security purposes. To read the Council’s press release in full and for a link to the new guidelines, click here.