A group of institutional investors and money managers representing $4.5 trillion in assets pledged their commitment to address risks raised by facial recognition technology products and services.
Launched by money manager CANDRIAM in March, 50 global investors have now become signatories to the Investor Statement on Facial Recognition. The firms are engaging with companies on their facial recognition technology activities and human rights policies, with the investor statement set to form the basis of dialogue on the topic.
The two-year collaborative engagement program aims to prioritize human rights when it comes to facial recognition technology, in part through constructive dialogue with global companies that are using or developing such products.
Several aspects of facial recognition technology represent "serious reputational, operational and financial risks for the companies involved ... as well as salient risks to human rights," the statement said.
While the technology does not require any physical interaction by the end-user, it has given rise to numerous controversies, including racial and gender biases; accuracy and lack of public testing; possible privacy or legal violations in terms of sourcing photos for databases; and misuse by some governments, law enforcement agencies and others.
Though a global common framework for the regulation of biometrics data collection and its use does not exist, a number of U.S. cities and states have banned the use of facial recognition technology. The European Commission is also proposing its first legal framework on artificial intelligence regulation, while China recently published a draft standard on security requirements of facial recognition data, a news release accompanying the statement said.
Signatories include RPMI Railpen, London, which manages £31 billion ($44 billion) in assets on behalf of the railway pension plans; NZ Super, Auckland, which has NZ$57 billion ($41.3 billion) in assets; and Aviva Investors, with £365 billion in assets under management.
European money manager CANDRIAM has €140 billion ($170.7 billion) in AUM.