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The use of facial recognition technology (FRT) has recently gained popularity among banks, airports, and event venues. As more and more users opt to take advantage of the convenience this technology brings, it is high time for the law to provide them with safeguards to ensure that such innovation be used only with the safety and security of everyone in mind. 

FRT is undeniably an invaluable tool, but it also poses privacy and security issues. This is why regulation of the said technology is important. As a leading digital bank that puts premium on the security of its consumers online, Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank) fully supports the proposed House Bill 6094 for “Regulating the Use of Facial Recognition Technology (FRT)”. 

“We want consumers to be more aware of the technology’s implications to them. We would like to emphasize that we are doing necessary precautions to protect the consumers’ privacy and security while letting them enjoy the ease of facial recognition in our applications,” said global data science expert Dr. David Hardoon, UnionBank’s Senior Advisor for Data and Artificial Intelligence (AI). 

According to the Data Privacy Act of 2012, the processing of sensitive personal information such as biometrics data or information pertaining to a person’s physical features is prohibited except when the person has given his consent and if it is absolutely necessary for the purposes provided for by law. 

As much as advocating for awareness about where their data is going, companies that use FRTs should also be properly regulated to protect the data privacy of their consumers. This bill would do just that. 

The Bill requires the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to accredit and authorize the development, sale and distribution of FRT in the country. It also places limits on the use of the FRT by law enforcement agencies and authorized safety and security firms. Lastly, it mandates private companies such as financial institutions to register their FRT software and hardware with the DICT. 

The Bill provides safeguards for the privacy and security of consumers. The measures laid down by this bill ensures that the personal data of consumers would be processed and stored properly to promote online safety. 

“We fully support the bill and we hope to contribute to its development,” Dr. Hardoon shared. 

For #eConomyAndDataProtection, visit the National Privacy Commission website.

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