Facial Recognition Challenges: The Law and Legality of Facial Recognition Technology.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021  
11:00 AM – 1:30 PM ET (Zoom)

You can watch the recording of this event on our YouTube Channel.

The goal of the panel is to explore the law and legality of facial recognition technology. What are the legal and ethical issues involved in government and private actors’ use of facial recognition technology? What 4th Amendment constitutional concerns exist? What is the role of facial recognition in the area of national and global security? The panelists will discuss privacy and other issues surrounding the use of this form of artificial intelligence in the US and internationally.  
Panel 1. Data, Privacy, and the Challenge of the Electronic Public Square.

Adam Schwartz (Electronic Frontier Foundation)

Floyd Abrams (Cahill Gordon & Reindel)

Panel 2. The Role of Facial Recognition in National & Global Security

Steven Feldstein (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace)

Richard Clarke (The Middle East Institute)


Henry H. Perritt Jr. ( IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law)

Panelist Bios:

Adam Schwartz joined EFF as a Senior Staff Attorney in 2015. He advocates before courts and legislatures against surveillance and censorship. He has represented travelers subjected to warrantless smartphone searches by border officers, dissidents seeking to speak in government social media, and customers of phone companies that unlawfully sold location data. He has filed amicus briefs addressing the right to record on-duty police, perpetual location-tracking of court-involved people, face surveillance by corporations of consumers, and overbroad laws against so-called “cyberstalking.” Through FOIA enforcement litigation, he helped expose new information about AT&T’s “Hemisphere” phone snooping program. He has worked to pass bills to protect consumer data privacy and to stop high-tech surveillance of immigrants. Previously, Adam worked at the ACLU of Illinois for 19 years, and clerked for Judge Betty B. Fletcher of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He earned a J.D. from Howard University and a B.A. from Cornell University.

Floyd Abrams is Senior Counsel in Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP’s litigation practice group. Floyd has a national trial and appellate practice and extensive experience in high-visibility matters, often involving First Amendment, securities litigation, intellectual property, public policy, and regulatory issues. He has argued frequently in the Supreme Court in cases raising issues as diverse as the scope of the First Amendment, the interpretation of ERISA, the nature of broadcast regulation, the impact of copyright law, and the continuing viability of the Miranda rule. Most recently, Floyd prevailed in his argument before the Supreme Court on behalf of Senator Mitch McConnell as amicus curiae, defending the rights of corporations and unions to speak publicly about politics and elections in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. Floyd served on the Technology and Privacy Advisory Committee of the U.S. Department of Defense in 2003-4 and as the Chair of the New York State Commission on Public Access to Court Records in 2004. For fifteen years, Floyd was the William J. Brennan, Jr. Visiting Professor of First Amendment Law at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. He has, as well, been a Visiting Lecturer at Yale Law School and Columbia Law School and he is author of Friend of the Court: On the Front Lines with the First Amendment, published by Yale University Press (2013) and Speaking Freely: Trials of the First Amendment, published by Viking Press (2005).

Steven Feldstein is a senior fellow in Carnegie’s Democracy, Conflict, and Governance Program, where he focuses on issues of democracy, technology, human rights, U.S. foreign policy, and Africa. Feldstein served as a deputy assistant secretary in the Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Bureau in the U.S. Department of State, where he had responsibility for Africa policy, international labor affairs, and international religious freedom. Previously he was the director of policy at the U.S. Agency for International Development, and also served as counsel on the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, where he oversaw U.S. foreign assistance programs, State Department management, and international organizations. He has published research on how artificial intelligence is reshaping repression, the geopolitics of technology, China’s role in advancing digital authoritarianism, and COVID-19’s effect on democracies. He also released a global AI surveillance index to track the proliferation of advanced big data tools used by governments. He is the author of The Rise of Digital Repression: How Technology is Reshaping Power, Politics, and Resistance (Oxford University Press, 2021).

Richard A. Clarke is Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Middle East Institute. Mr. Clarke served for thirty years in US government national security agencies, including the Pentagon, the State Department, and the White House National Security Council. In the Reagan administration, he was Deputy Assistant Secretary for Intelligence. In the Bush (41) Administration, he was Assistant Secretary of State for Politico-Military Affairs. Mr. Clarke served as Special Assistant to the President for Global Affairs, Senior Director for Transnational Threats, National Coordinator for Counter-terrorism, and Special Advisor to the President for Cyber Security. Since leaving government, he has taught five years at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, served as an on-air consultant for ABC News for nine years, and managed Good Harbor Consulting for a decade. He has published numerous books and novels, including Pinnacle Event (St. Martin’s Press, 2015) and the New York Times #1 bestseller, Against All Enemies: Inside America’s War on Terror. His recent book with Robert K. Knake is “The Fifth Domain: Defending Our Country, Our Companies, and Ourselves in the Age of Cyber Threats.” 

Henry H. Perritt, Jr., is a professor of law at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. He served on President Clinton’s Transition Team, working on telecommunications issues, and drafted principles for electronic dissemination of public information, which formed the core of the Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments adopted by Congress in 1996. During the Ford administration, he served on the White House staff and as deputy undersecretary of labor. Professor Perritt earned his B.S. in engineering from MIT in 1966, a master’s degree in management from MIT’s Sloan School in 1970, and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in 1975. He has written extensively on technology (including facial recognition) and law.