On Thursday, Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz and Missouri Senator Roy Blunt introduced a bill designed to offer legislative oversight for commercial applications of facial recognition technology. Known as the Commercial Facial Recognition Privacy Act, the bill would obligate companies to inform consumers about any use of facial recognition and proposes limiting companies from freely sharing facial recognition data with third parties without first obtaining explicit user consent.
“Consumers are increasingly concerned about how their data is being collected and used, including data collected through facial recognition technology,” Senator Blunt said of the bill. “That’s why we need guardrails to ensure that, as this technology continues to develop, it is implemented responsibly.”
Microsoft endorsed the bipartisan bill, which dovetails with some of the company’s own ideas about how facial recognition tech might be regulated. “We believe it’s important for governments in 2019 to start adopting laws to regulate this technology,” Microsoft President Brad Smith wrote in December. “The facial recognition genie, so to speak, is just emerging from the bottle.”