22 jan 20
22 jan 20
Privacy Platform: Facial recognition: a 'convenient' and 'efficient' solution looking for a problem?

Wednesday 22 January, 13h00-14h15

CPDP Conference - Les Halles de Schaerbeek, Brussels


The fast developing new technology of facial recognition is increasingly present in the public debate, and is often presented as 'convenient' or 'efficient' solution for both consumers and the public good. We are made to believe that paying our groceries by facial recognition is common sense in some years and so much more efficient. Or that we will all have digital identities based on facial recognition in order to communicate with our authorities. Or that we can soon travel without scanning our passports, but just cross borders by scanning our face. Experiments on all these examples are already being carried out, sometimes disguised as "innovation" and "research". The current debate on whether this use of our most unique feature, our face, is socially and ethically desirable cannot keep up with the imagination of wiz kids developing this technology, who are selling their 'smart' technology to product developers and authorities.

The panel will discuss the ethical aspects of facial recognition. Are the "convenient" solutions that facial recognition technology promises answers to real problems?  To what extent should people be protected against facial recognition and related function creep? Where do we draw the boundary between what should be "desirable" and what is "possible" technologically? Should the EU ban the use of facial recognition by law enforcement, such as in California, or can we allow this?



13h00 Welcome by Sophie in ’t Veld MEP

13h10 Introductory speeches by the panellists

13h40 Q&A interaction



- Lotte Houwing (Bits of Freedom, Dutch EDRi Member, policy advisor and researcher)

- Cornelia Kutterer (Microsoft, Senior Director of EU Government Affairs, Privacy and AI Policies, Corporate, External and Legal Affairs)

- Gwendal Le Grand (CNIL, Deputy Secretary-General)


If you would like to attend the Privacy Platform, please register Tuesday 14 January at the latest with Stijn ter Heerdt via Registration via the Privacy Platform will provide you free access to the CPDP conference the rest of the day.