Facial recognition technology needs limits, D66 and CDA MPs say

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Two of the four coalition parties have called for a halt to the use of facial recognition technology pending a political debate about its usefulness and desirability, the Volkskrant reported on Tuesday.

Liberal democratic party D66 and the Christian Democrats say that clear boundaries have to be set for the technology to determine who can use it and to what end. They also want to find out exactly where the technology is already being used.

For example, Schiphol airport is currently testing facial recognition in place of physical passport controls and the police have a database of 1.3 million faces which they scan automatically using the technology. Football clubs such as Ajax and PSV are also using it, the Volkskrant said.

‘Facial recognition is the next stage in the way in which people are being seen as a collection of data,’ CDA parliamentarian Chris van Dam told the paper. ‘This is to the detriment of human values.’

D66 MP Kees Verhoeven published his thoughts on the growth in the use of new technology on Tuesday. ‘Politicians have to sometimes dare to call a halt, and say “to here but no further”,’ he said.

Research by broadcaster NOS earlier this month showed that local authorities and the police are carrying out many experiments using algorithms to predict where burglaries might take place or what people’s healthcare needs are likely to be.

In addition, privacy organisations have gone to court to have a controversial government data base system put on ice. SyRI, devised by social affairs ministry officials, has been used by four local authorities to draw up lists of people suspected of some form of housing or social security fraud.

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