Legal and Ethical Aspects of Face Recognition

18 January 2022
Online Study Day
MeeMoo, Flemish Institute for Archives

If you work regularly with photographic and audiovisual collections, you may well have noticed that you rarely come across useful content metadata. As well as limiting the findability and searchability of these collections, this also prevents their re-use. In this FAME project, we are therefore investigating whether (semi-) automated face recognition can help to fill these gaps. But what legal or ethical objections might there be? We’ll be delving into this topic at the first FAME study day on 18 January.


Can face recognition technology help to make up for the lack of useful metadata in cultural heritage collections? That’s the main question behind the FAME project, which is being funded by the Flemish Community. Together with Kunstenpunt (Flanders Arts Institute, link in Dutch)KOERS (Museum of Cycle Racing)ADVN (Archive for National Movements), the Archive of the Flemish Parliament (link in Dutch) and IDLab, we’ve initiated several pilot projects to investigate the possibilities of applying face recognition to collections of audiovisual cultural heritage content.

We need to tread carefully with this use of artificial intelligence and machine learning; it’s important to take the privacy of the people portrayed and content copyrights into account. This first of three study days will therefore also focus on the legal and ethical aspects of face recognition technology.

The second and third FAME study days will follow in February and March 2022. On 22 February, we’ll be looking at face detection and how to scale up the infrastructure. On the final study day in March, we’ll delve deeper into face recognition and look at how the metadata it produces is added to photo and video content in practice. We will announce the date for this soon.


What’s on the programme?

  • A brief introduction to the topic from a broad social perspective by Dominique Deckmyn (Culture and Media editor, De Standaard);
  • Explanation of the legal framework by Joris Deene (lawyer, Everest Law);
  • Keynote speech by Catherine Jasserand-Breeman (postdoctoral researcher, KU Leuven Centre for IT & IP Law);
  • Explanation of how the FAME project is dealing with the legal and ethical aspects;
  • To conclude: a panel discussion with specialists and experienced experts, followed by an interactive round of questions in which we are curious to hear your opinions on the practical application of face recognition technology to add metadata to cultural heritage collections.


  • 18 January, 13.30-16h
  • Language: English
  • Location: online
  • Target Audience: everybody who works with metadata in photographic and audiovisual collections. Researchers, developers, journalists, politicians and interested students.


  • Registration period: before 16 January

Ready to get started?

All practical information can be found at the website of MeeMoo