Security Industry Association Applauds NIST Study on Facial Recognition

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Study recognizes areas for improvement within algorithms and offers direction for technology to advance

The Security Industry Association (SIA), the leading trade association representing more than 1,000 companies and organizations developing and delivering security solutions, thanks the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) for its thoughtful and diligent work producing a report evaluating the performance of current facial recognition technology across demographic groups. Facial recognition is a fast-advancing technology in a constant cycle of improvements and is widely adopted across the public and private sectors. Reports from non-biased organizations like NIST are immensely valuable. SIA commends NIST for encouraging research organizations to examine this issue comprehensively rather than publish incomplete research in order to generate attention.

Facial recognition solutions offer tremendous benefits for homeland security and public safety applications, and the clear advantages of this technology necessitate that steady improvements be made and documented to ensure that the public can trust this technology’s public benefits.

The NIST report found that demographic differentials are lessening due to many of the high-performing algorithms producing fewer errors.

The report also emphasized that many facial recognition use scenarios require trained humans to remain integral to the process. Whether in an investigation of a potential crime or identifying an individual at a port of entry, SIA believes trained personnel are critical to the successful deployment of this technology.

In light of the NIST report, SIA encourages its members and all facial recognition technology companies to strive to eliminate bias from within facial recognition processing algorithms, and SIA encourages such firms to enlist diverse data sets when testing their algorithms.

“The NIST study provides clear data that can help shape advances in facial recognition,” said Don Erickson, CEO of SIA. “SIA encourages collaborative efforts by member companies and involving key stakeholders with the goal of improving facial recognition algorithms and eliminating significant accuracy variation or potential bias. Our members look forward to a strong continued working relationship with NIST and its scientists as these technologies improve and go even further in protecting human lives.”

About SIA
SIA is the leading trade association for global security solution providers, with over 1,000 innovative member companies representing thousands of security leaders and experts who shape the future of the security industry. SIA protects and advances its members’ interests by advocating pro-industry policies and legislation at the federal and state levels, creating open industry standards that enable integration, advancing industry professionalism through education and training, opening global market opportunities and collaborating with other like-minded organizations. As the premier sponsor of ISC Events expos and conferences, SIA ensures its members have access to top-level buyers and influencers, as well as unparalleled learning and network opportunities. SIA also enhances the position of its members in the security marketplace through SIA GovSummit, which brings together private industry with government decision makers, and Securing New Ground, the security industry’s top executive conference for peer-to-peer networking.

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