PublicSquare Seminars

This seminar explores the unique risks face recognition poses to our constitutional rights and liberties, and the efforts underway in communities across the country to regulate or ban its use. It will outline the current state of the technology and likely future deployments in the United States and abroad in the absence of regulation, using the UK as a comparative case study. It also examines historical and recent court decisions from both the US and UK that can help inform what legal protections exist vis-a-vis face recognition and related surveillance technologies.

Clare Garvie, Senior Associate at Georgetown Law’s Center on Privacy and Technology, is the lead researcher and author of The Perpetual Line-Up: Unregulated Police Face Recognition in America (2016), a landmark study which revealed law enforcement’s widespread use of facial recognition technology with very little to no oversight or accountability mechanisms, limited training for bias, and the systematic compilation of databases made up of law-abiding citizen. She also served as the lead researcher on two follow-up reports, Garbage In, Garbage Out: Face Recognition on Flawed Data and America Under Watch: Face Surveillance in the United States, both of which appeared in 2019. In May, she testified before the U.S. House Oversight Committee hearing on “Facial Recognition Technology: Its Impact on our Civil Rights and Liberties.”  That same month the groundbreaking findings of Clare and her research team were the focus of a one-day conference entitled, “About Face: The Changing Landscape of Facial Recognition,” sponsored by the Northeastern University School of Law. Her current research focuses on the use of face recognition-derived evidence in criminal cases, and she serves as an informational resource to public defenders, advocates, and journalists. Prior to attending Georgetown Law School (’15), Garvie worked in human rights and international criminal law with the International Center for Transitional Justice. She received her B.A. from Barnard College in political science, human rights, and psychology.

This event has been made possible through the generosity of Claude and Susan Case, Dorothy Largay and Wayne Rosing.

Listen Now

Podcast coming soon.

Seminar Readings

Paul Mozur, “One Month, 500,000 Face Scans: How China Is Using A.I. to Profile a Minority,” The New York Times (April 14, 2019)
Drew Harwell, “Police Have Used Celebrity Look-alikes, Distorted Images to Boost Facial-Recognition Results, Research Finds,” The Washington Post (May 16, 2019)

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