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Rights watchdog opposes indiscriminate use of face recognition technology

15:38 January 25, 2023

SEOUL, Jan. 25 (Yonhap) -- The state human rights watchdog said Wednesday that the recent move to introduce facial recognition technology into public institutions is feared to infringe upon freedom and privacy of personal life and freedom of expression.

The National Human Rights Commission of Korea (NHRCK) asked the speaker of the National Assembly and the prime minister to promote legislation to prevent the violation of basic rights when face identification technology is utilized in the public sector.

This file image depicts face recognition technology. (Yonhap)

In particular, the agency urged the prime minister to completely stop the introduction and use of real-time remote face recognition technology in public institutions and places until a bill to prevent the risk of human rights infringement by the technology is prepared.

Real-time remote face recognition is a technology that compares biometric information, such as face information, with existing data to identify individuals from a long distance in a short time.

The NHRCK said the technology targeting an unspecified number of people should be banned in principle, due to the high risk of basic rights violation.

The interior ministry said earlier this month that government buildings plan to build an access control system that links mobile civil servant ID cards with the facial recognition technology.

The NHRCK also recommended that the government observe the principle of respecting human rights, restrict indiscriminate introduction and use of the face recognition technology and set standards for its exceptional and supplementary use only when the need for public interest is recognized.

"If the state collects, retains and utilizes a wide range of people's face information without any special control, it can track and monitor specific individuals, violating their freedom and privacy of personal life," the watchdog said.



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