Hello, Guest!

Federal Civilian

Agency Watchdog Calls on Labor Department to Check Facial Recognition Use

Algorithmic bias

Agency Watchdog Calls on Labor Department to Check Facial Recognition Use

The Department of Labor’s Office of the Inspector General has issued a memo urging “immediate attention” to potential equity and security issues around the use of facial recognition in unemployment insurance benefits programs. Specifically, the OIG flagged the use of third-party identity checkers and called on the agency to exercise “extreme caution” so that the technology does not discriminate against claimants.

According to the agency watchdog, a 2019 memo from the National Institutes of Standards and Technology showed that facial recognition algorithms exhibit a race and gender bias. NIST also noted that photograph quality could affect accuracy, which could impact applicants with darker skin tones or lower-quality cameras.

The OIG recommended that more thorough guidance be provided to states. Brent Parton, an acting assistant secretary at the Labor Department, said the agency would follow a recommendation to require a non-digital alternative to online identity verification.

Fraudsters had been utilizing stolen personal data to take advantage of Congress-boosted state unemployment programs during the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to state administrations increasingly tapping contractors to conduct identity verification, Nextgov reported Thursday.

Sign Up Now! Potomac Officers Club provides you with Daily Updates and News Briefings about Federal Civilian

Category: Federal Civilian

Tags: Department of Labor facial recognition federal civilian identity verification Nextgov