Investor Engagement on Human Rights Risks of Facial Recognition Technology: Interim Report

Reducing the Human Rights Risks 

Facial Recognition Technologies are changing our lives. FRT enhances efficiency and security, helping us unlock high-end smartphones, or pass more rapidly through airports. But are there hidden costs to our human rights?

Acting together, a group of active owners has embarked upon a multi-year campaign of engagement, dialogue, and best practices with companies engaging in this decades-old but rapidly-expanding technology. We dialogue extensively with fifteen companies engaged in FRT, including software, internet, telecoms, and semiconductor companies. Spoiler alert: both investors and companies learned from each other.

Read our 2022 Collective Engagement Results

 

This engagement campaign follows on our 2021 Facial Recognition Initiative. Intended to address the risks of this expanding technology and welcomed by the UN Principles for Responsible Investment, over 50  investors representing more than $5 trillion of assets under management have committed to this initiative – and counting.

 

And if you are still wondering why we decided to engage on such a topic, then you may want to discover our white paper incorporating a wide-ranging series of conversations with companies, investors, NGOs, and other stakeholders to develop a framework. As a matter of fact, it is estimated that one billion surveillance cameras are in operation[i]. Facial recognition technology in its present form lacks consent of those photographed, lacks accuracy, and lacks official oversight. Misidentification is  on the rise, and is systematic among certain ethnic groups.

Read our White Paper on Facial Recognition Technology

 

What next?

Having dialogued to collect a framework of best practices, our collaborative investor group will next turn to discussing with each company how these best practices can be implemented in their organizations.

The outcome of this second campaign should be released in 2023. Stay tuned!

 

 

[i] Lin, Liza and Newley Purnell. The Wall Street Journal. A World With a Billion Cameras Watching You Is just Around the Corner. Updated 6 December, 2019.

  • Sophie Deleuze
    Lead ESG Analyst, Stewardship

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