The World Economic Forum (WEF) gets my vote for A-hole Of The Year for publishing a report that advocates for less adversarial regulations to help spread facial recognition usage world-wide.
The 67 page report titled “Global Technology Governance Report 2021: Harnessing Fourth Industrial Revolution Technologies in a COVID-19 World” is all about spreading the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” (biometrics) across the globe.
“The Fourth Industrial Revolution – for instance, artificial intelligence (AI), mobility (including autonomous vehicles), blockchain, drones and the internet of things (IoT) – have been at the center of these innovations and are likely to play a dominant role in what emerges post-pandemic.”
The WEF thinks governments should relax regulations on biometric collection devices.
“Governing these new technologies (facial recognition) will require new principles, rules and protocols that promote innovation while mitigating social costs. Public-private collaboration will be crucial to making the right choices for future generations. A faster, more agile approach to governance is needed to effectively respond and adapt to the ways these technologies are changing business models and social interaction structures.”
The WEF claims consumers and governments should be encouraged to share private data.
“Regulators and lawmakers should protect privacy while also encouraging data sharing to ensure that technologies meet their potential. Consumers, public authorities and private companies can all share key data in order to fully benefit from these new technologies.” (page 11)
The WEF also thinks that restricting data sharing would inhibit the growth of facial recognition, drones and the internet of things.
“Many countries have restrictions on data sharing, especially related to finance and healthcare. However, data is a vital ingredient for technologies such as AI autonomous vehicles and blockchain, and restricting its flow can inhibit the growth of data-dependent fields.”
“For innovation to thrive, agile and responsive regulation will be crucial in the post-pandemic world. Business models are changing rapidly, and regulators will need to keep pace with these changes without stifling innovation.” (page 16)
On Page 18, the WEF compares sharing personal facial recognition data with governments and law enforcement to sharing cancer treatment data which is appalling. The so-called deep pools of quality data that facial recognition produces are in fact the intimate details of people’s lives.
“Rapid advances in facial recognition software show what deep pools of quality data can produce and shed light on the kinds of revolutionary outcomes that sharing data on cancer treatments or carbon emissions could produce.”
The WEF’s “Agile Regulation for the Fourth Industrial Revolution” is all about making biometric companies rich at the expense of everyone’s privacy.
“Around the world, governments have been forced to fast-track changes to regulation to enable innovations from telemedicine to drone delivery to help their economies adapt to disruption. A more agile, flexible approach to regulation is needed in order to unlock the potential of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”
“The Agile Regulation for the Fourth Industrial Revolution project seeks to promote adoption of these practices and make it easier for innovations to be introduced and scaled across the world, while mitigating the risks. If we get this right, we can unlock innovation that will help power our prosperity.”
‘If we get this right, we can unlock the innovation that will help power our prosperity’? Really?
If governments fail to regulate or ‘agilely’, regulate personal facial recognition/drone surveillance data around the world, then no one will be safe from Big Brother.
The WEF also wants biometric companies to set an international standard framework to encourage governments to approve biometric surveillance devices.
Letting biometric companies or special interest groups like the WEF decide how best to surveil 7 billion plus people is a mistake of epic proportions. Not only will it make everyone rich like the WEF and biometric companies but privacy as we know it will become almost non-existent.
And that is why I nominate the World Economic Forum for my first-ever “A-hole Of The Year” award.