The Security Industry Association (SIA) released a statement thanking 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. SIA says that reports from non-biased organizations like NIST are immensely valuable, and 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, according to SIA.
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 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.”