Sep 6, 2019 - Technology

Public split over police use of facial recognition

Ina Fried
A live demonstration uses artificial intelligence and facial recognition in dense crowd spatial-temporal technology

Photo: David McNew/AFP/Getty Images

A new study suggests Americans trust law enforcement more than advertisers or tech companies to use facial recognition responsibly, though many are skeptical of all three groups.

Why it matters: There is a growing debate over the appropriate use of facial recognition, while few laws exist in the U.S. over how and where the technology can be used. Even some tech companies say it is time for Congress to set some rules.

  • A Pew Research study found 56% of Americans trust law enforcement agencies to make appropriate use of facial recognition and 59% are OK with law enforcement using facial recognition tools to assess security threats in public spaces.
  • By contrast, only about one-third of those surveyed trust technology companies to use facial recognition technology appropriately and a mere 18% trust advertisers with these technologies.

The release of the study comes the same day that 30 new groups have joined Fight for the Future's push to ban law enforcement use of facial recognition.

  • Pew said it conducted a "nationally representative survey" of 4,272 U.S. adults, with polling taking place between June 3 and June 17.

Go deeper: Facial recognition surveillance faces new calls for legal limits

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