Facial recognition often varies based on race, gender, or age, according to a new study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Legislators and privacy advocates are concerned about the widespread use of commercial facial recognition by law enforcement agencies, airports and businesses, and the institute wants to dig further, the first study of statistical differences in facial scanning technology in identifying people’s faces.
The above image is from NIST
The study, released Thursday, says commercial facial recognition technology is still immature, indicating higher rates of identification errors among women, young, older and some ethnic groups. Craig Watson, manager of biometrics at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, said: “Face recognition technology is widely available, but obviously there is still a lot of work to be done. “
The agency, part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, has tested the algorithms of nearly 100 companies for millions of facial photos, visa application photos and other government-held images. Microsoft is one of the major technology companies that voluntarily submit its technology for review. Amazon does not sell facial scanning software to the police.