Professor Hartzog and Leading Technology Scholars Oppose Facial Recognition Bill
05.12.20 — A group of leading technology scholars led by Woodrow Hartzog, professor of law and computer science at Northeastern University, and Evan Selinger, professor of philosophy at Rochester Institute of Technology, have signed a letter of opposition to AB 2261, a California bill regulating facial recognition technology. "The bill would undermine civil rights, harm public safety, and pave the way for a future where governments are given too much power—power to track people, deny them fundamental opportunities, and deprive them of essential freedoms that are central to a vibrant democratic society," the letter states.
In a 2019 opinion piece co-authored for The New York Times titled, “What Happens When Employers Can Read Your Facial Expressions?,” Hartog and Selinger argued that facial recognition technology represents an unprecedented threat to privacy and civil liberties. The letter calls on the legislature to take the threat of facial recognition seriously: "Facial recognition technology threatens to translate who we are and everywhere we go into trackable information that can be instantly stored, shared, and analyzed. Since the future of human autonomy depends upon facial recognition technology being restricted before the systems become too entrenched in our lives, we must oppose AB 2261."
Hartzog joined the faculty of the School of Law in 2017 and holds a joint appointment with the Khoury College of Computer Sciences, where he teaches privacy and data protection issues. His research focuses on law and policy issues related privacy, digital technologies and artificial intelligence. His work has been published in numerous scholarly publications such as the Yale Law Journal, Columbia Law Review, California Law Review and Michigan Law Review, and popular national publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Atlantic and The Nation. He has testified three times before Congress on privacy and data protection issues. Hartzog's book, Privacy’s Blueprint: The Battle to Control the Design of New Technologies (Harvard University Press, 2018), has been called “one of the most important books about privacy in our times.”
About Northeastern University School of Law
The nation’s leader in experiential legal education since 1968, Northeastern University School of Law offers the longest-running, most extensive experience-based legal education program in the country and is a national leader in legal education reform. Founded with cooperative legal education as the cornerstone of its program, Northeastern guarantees its students unparalleled practical legal work experiences. All students participate in full-time legal placements, and can choose from the more than 1,500 employers worldwide participating in the school’s signature Cooperative Legal Education Program. Northeastern University School of Law blends theory and practice, providing students with a unique set of skills and experience to successfully practice law.
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