IGF 2023 Town Hall #121 Transparency in times of facial recognition


Non-discrimination in the Digital Space

Round Table - 60 Min


During the last years, the implementation of facial recognition and other types of remote biometric technologies in Latin America has increased rampantly, particularly in the context of public safety. While to this date, there is no reporting on the impact of such technologies to reduce criminality, the false positives cases continue to grow, and there is at least one reported case of government surveillance to the opposition.

A key element to understanding how these operations are impacting or could potentially impact human rights is the transparency of the stakeholders: companies and governments mostly. Lax local legislations in the region, jointly with the apathy of authorities, create a welcoming space for the lack of company accountability.

This session will address what are companies that deploy technologies with mass surveillance capabilities in LATAM doing to respect the UN Guiding Principles of Business and Human Rights, and what can be done if there are poor results.

The session has a multi-stakeholder approach, where civil society, the private sector, and government can dialogue on how to create a safer space for human rights in Latin America.

1) We will coach both moderators on how to transfer the questions and comments to make them available to the speakers:
a) Both moderators will periodically remind the audiences that they can leave comments and questions in the platform designated for this purpose.
b)Online moderator will be in charge of retrieving relevant comments/questions and pass them, through a private channel, to the onsite moderator.
c) Periodically during the conversation, the onsite moderator will introduce pertinent questions and will suggest a speaker to answer.
d) There will be some minutes at the end of the session dedicated to retrieve questions and comments from the onsite audience.
e) Prior to the session, speakers will receive a short background from all the other participants, so that they can have a sense of to whom direct their interventions and follow up questions.

2) We will plan details beforehand to ensure the smoothness of the session:
a) Schedule technical call before the session.
b) Ensure both online and inpersn moderator has good internet connection.

3) Audience interaction is a key added value of IGF. We plan to:

a) Promote the event and particularly the speakers in social media and with interested stakeholders in the weeks before. We will be emphatic on seeing this as an opportunity to get in touch with them.
b) If the IGF organization allows it, include a white label platform, like StreamYard - This will allow, for example, to include the audience questions in the screen.


🔒Business and Human Rights Resource Centre
Ángela Alarcón, Access Now, Civil society, LAC
Danny Rayman, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, Civil Society, LAC
Gayatri Khandhadai, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, Civil Society, Global
Yamlek Mojica, Access Now, Civil society, LAC
Ana Brian Nougrères, United Nations, NGO, LAC


· Ángela Alarcón, Access Now, Civil society, LAC
· Ana Brian Nougrères, United Nations, NGO, LAC (To be confirmed)
· NEC Corporation, Private sector, APAC (To be confirmed)
· Representative of the Brazilian Parliament, Government, LAC (To be confirmed)

Onsite Moderator

Gayatri Khandhadai, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, Civil Society, Global

Online Moderator

Yamlek Mojica, Access Now, Civil society, LAC


Ana Brian Nougrères, United Nations, NGO, LAC



Targets: 12.6 - Businesses that sell and deploy facial recognition technologies without disclosing information about their negative human rights implications are failing to meet this goal. This goal emphasizes the importance of adopting sustainability practices and integrating sustainability information into their reporting cycles. Such integration extends beyond environmental considerations but also social aspects, both intimately bound with human rights.

16.3 - Technology is not neutral. Facial recognition technologies have proven to be biased towards historically marginalized populations, including BIPOC and LGBTIQA+. Furthermore, mass surveillance enabled by such technologies goes against the principle of innocence, putting the population under suspicion.

16.10 - Businesses are not giving information. After insistently reaching out to numerous companies that deploy surveillance technology in LATAM to better understand their internal practices to address the impact of their products, only a small number of them gave some answer, which usually was short, general, focused on the procurement angle, or filtered by their public relations office.

17.6 - Power imbalance. Most of the remote biometric technologies that are deployed in Latin America come from the “Global North”, from countries that are either authoritarian or have more rigorous requirements to implement this kind of technology in their own territory.