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Automated facial recognition technology is creeping into public spaces. It is implemented in public space like airports and stadiums. It is increasingly integrated in everyday policing to automatically identify lawbreakers. The education technology industry markets it to analyze student emotion in class. Despite the galvanizing narratives associated with facial recognition technology, however, critical voices are on the rise. Facial recognition technology is “arsenic in the water supply of democracy”, denounced the UK civil liberties group Liberty. It is “secretive. Unlawful. Inhumane”, claims the Reclaim the Face campaign, asking to ban biometric technology from public space across the European Union. This presentation explores citizen resistance to facial recognition technology in the public space. It asks how people make sense of and react to it, focusing on public discourse and policymaking in the city of Amsterdam and at the European Union level.
Stefania Milan is Professor of Critical Data Studies at the Department of Media Studies, University of Amsterdam. She is also Faculty Associate (2020-2022) at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, Harvard University and collaborates with the Chair in Ai & Democracy, School of Transnational Governance, European University Institute. Her work explores the interplay between digital technology and data, political participation and governance with a focus on infrastructure and agency. She is the author of Social Movements and Their Technologies: Wiring Social Change (2013/2016), co-author of Media/Society (2011), and co-editor of COVID-19 from the Margins. Pandemic Invisibilities, Policies and Resistance in the Datafied Society (2021).
Marjolein Lanzing is an Assistant Professor in Philosophy of Technology at the University of Amsterdam. Previously, she worked on the Googlization of Health as a post-doc on the ERC project Digital Good (PI: Tamar Sharon) at the Interdisciplinary Hub for Security, Privacy and Data Governance (Radboud University). She finished her PhD-research 'The Transparent Self': A Normative Investigation of Changing Selves and Relationships in the Age of the Quantified Self at the 4TU Center for Ethics and Technology (University of Technology Eindhoven). Marjolein studies ethical and political concerns related to new technologies, in particular, concerns regarding privacy and surveillance (autonomy, discrimination, manipulation and commodification), and what they mean for the way we understand ourselves and our social relationships. Marjolein is a board member of Bits of Freedom, an NGO that protects online freedom and (digital) civil rights.