Tech And Business Groups Urge Investment In IT Modernization Of Face Recognition Vendor Tests

Washington, DC – Today, Internet Association (IA), Alliance for Digital Innovation (ADI), Security Industry Association (SIA), and the U.S. Chamber Technology Engagement Center (C_TEC) are calling on U.S. congressional leaders to support the modernization of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) information technology (IT) infrastructure. More specifically, the coalition hopes Congress will require improvement of NIST’s testing capabilities to include cloud-based face recognition products and services among those that can be tested. With this support, Congress will provide NIST’s Face Recognition Vendor Test (FRVT) the ability to develop proper standards and guidelines for any implementation of the technology.

“Face recognition is one of the most cutting-edge technologies on the market today, and its upward trajectory is currently outpacing NIST’s ability to form essential national technology standards,” says IA Director of Cloud Policy Omid Ghaffari-Tabrizi. “Congress must support activities that will ensure that NIST is able to build a test environment capable of matching the marketplace.”

Representing a broad portion of the American economy, the coalition is asking for Congressional leaders to address the inability of NIST’s FRVT team to perform tests on cloud-based products. Under current conditions, all vendors must convert their products to a version that fits within NIST’s testing capabilities. As a result, NIST is unable to test some products as they are actually being used, leaving the FRVT team and policymakers with an incomplete picture of the current state of facial recognition technology and the performance of widely used software. This impediment has the potential to prevent NIST from properly verifying that all active systems on the market are mitigating bias.

By requiring the modernization of NIST’s information technology infrastructure, IA is confident that NIST will be able to continue developing standards that will promote the responsible use of all modern technology, face recognition included. 

Read the letter here.