Facial Recognition in the Spotlight

In Latin America, the use of facial recognition systems for the surveillance of public spaces and control of social welfare programs has become an increasingly common practice. At the same time, it advances towards private spaces, in areas such as fraud control and even marketing.

These are very intrusive technologies, which have fueled heated debates worldwide, leading even some parts of Europe and the United States to ban their usage. However, in our region they are often implemented with little transparency, human rights considerations or any space for citizen participation in their deployment.

This project seeks to inform interested actors on what is going on in Latin America regarding the use of facial recognition technologies, follow the development of the different efforts that are taking place in this field and foster a critical and human rights based perspective in the debates on the matter.

Given the enormous harm that facial recognition technologies can have in people’s dignity and the exercise of their human rights, they must only be allowed in very limited and exceptional situations. They should also be subject to proportionality controls and the highest transparency and accountability standards. Furthermore, it is the responsibility of public officials to demonstrate their efficacy and prove that this is the best solution to the specific problem that they are trying to solve.

This project was made possible thanks to the support of the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) and Privacy International – in a previous phase – and counts with the collaboration of the following Latin American organizations:
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