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Facial recognition technology to be scrutinized by Obama administration

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The privacy implications of facial recognition technology will be the next topic for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to tackle as part of its multi-year privacy evaluation. In a notice today, the group (which is part of the Commerce department) said it would hold the first of several meetings about the technology beginning next February. It's a follow-up to the NTIA's year-long study on mobile privacy standards, and will also end up as part of a recommended "code of conduct" for software developers and businesses to abide by.

"The technology poses distinct consumer privacy challenges."

"Facial recognition technology has the potential to improve services for consumers, support innovation by businesses, and affect identification and authentication online and offline," the NTIA said in a statement. "However, the technology poses distinct consumer privacy challenges." Some of those include security, transparency in both public and private places, as well as ways for people to control its use, the group said.

Facial recognition has been used in both private and commercial applications, with mixed success. Recently the San Diego County police department began using the technology to match images of suspects with a database of arrestees using tablets and smartphones. There's also the recently-released Xbox One and PlayStation 4, which use visual sensors to identify users and log them in.

The first NTIA meeting on the matter is slated for February 6th, 2014.