15 September 2022

 *Times in UTC+2 /CEST

From border control to policing and welfare, governments are using automated facial recognition technology (FRT) to collect taxes, prevent crime, police cities and control immigration. FRT involves processing of a person’s facial image, typically for verification, identification, categorisation or counting. Concerns around an increased use of live automated FRT in airports, train stations and city streets across the globe have led many NGOs, local municipalities and legislators in Europe, the Americas and Asia-Pacific to call for regulation or even outright bans on FRT use. However, regulatory solutions lag behind.

A facial image is a biometric that can be collected from a distance, and without the person’s knowledge or consent. Academics thus have largely focused on the privacy implications of FRT, often limited to a specific jurisdiction. However, FRT use raises concerns that go well beyond privacy. The increasing use of FRT in public spaces changes the balance of power between governments and their populations: it enables the state to locate and identify individuals in seconds without the significant human resources needed in traditional policing or migration. It can thus impact on political protests, undermine due process and equal protection.

This international conference and Cambridge Handbook on Facial Recognition in the Modern State (CUP, 2024) aims to provide a platform for socio-legal discussion around government use of FRT across domestic and regional jurisdictions in Europe, the Americas, Asia-Pacific and Africa. Is FRT a legitimate tool to ensure public safety and security? Or is it a surveillance infrastructure, undermining fundamental rights and the rule of law? The conference and Cambridge Handbook will explore whether and how the answers to these questions differ among liberal democracies, and how democracies compare to authoritarian regimes in six different continents. Building on cultural and legal differences and common trends, the presenters will discuss possible future directions in regulating governments’ use of FRT at national, regional and international levels.


Conference Time and Format

Time: Thursday, 15 September 2022, 9:00am- 5:30pm UTC+2 /CEST

Format: Online; Link will be sent to registered participants closer to the event


Conference Keynotes:

Prof Orla Lynskey, London School of Economics, UK
Prof Milton Mueller, Georgia Tech, USA
Prof Mark Andrejevic, Monash University, Australia

Conference Program including abstracts and speakers’ bios is available here.

Conference hosts and organizers

The conference is hosted by:
Law Institute of the Lithuanian Centre for Social Sciences, Lithuania (main host)
UNSW Sydney, Australia
Macquarie University, Australia
London School of Economics, UK
Georgia Tech, USA
Allens Hub for Technology, Law and Innovation, UNSW Sydney, Australia
Centre for Law in the Digital Transformation at the University of Hamburg, Germany
ARC Centre of Excellence Automated Decision-Making and Society

Organizing Committee:
Rita Matulionyte – Macquarie University / Law Institute of the Lithuanian Centre for Social Sciences
Agne Limante – Law Institute of the Lithuanian Centre for Social Sciences
Egle Kavoliunaite-Ragauskiene – Law Institute of the Lithuanian Centre for Social Sciences
Monika Zalnieriute – UNSW Sydney / Law Institute of the Lithuanian Centre for Social Sciences 

Conference funding

This conference is part of the project ‘Government Use of Facial Recognition Technologies: Legal Challenges and Solutions’ (FaceAI), funded by Research Council of Lithuania (LMTLT) S-MIP-21-38.