Face Recognition Software: Implications for Privacy and Security (Part 2)

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Last week we looked at a few examples of lawsuits that are taking place in both America and New Zealand, where citizens are taking a stand against face detection software. In this second article on face recognition software and its implications for privacy and security, we will look at more examples of facial recognition being used all across the globe, and the privacy concerns that this is raising. As wbur explains, face recognition software is being used to verify the identification of anyone from a person who is stalking celebrities at any random concert to someone who jaywalked in China.

Chinese Use of Facial Detection Under Scrutiny

The article also gives an example that is a little bit of both. “There was an instance of an individual who was wanted by the Chinese police who attended, coincidentally enough, a concert in China. There were 50,000 people in attendance at that concert. With facial recognition technology, Chinese police IDed him as an individual in real-time, and they arrested him on sight.”

The post goes on to explain, “There are some folks who will say, ‘This harkens to a future in which it is impossible to commit a crime and get away with it,’ which is obviously something to look forward to. But the definition of a crime in China is quite different, right? Expressing the wrong political view can qualify as a crime. And that’s something that plenty of Chinese citizens are rightly worried about.”

Face Recognition is Everywhere

Did you know that when you are scrolling Facebook, face recognition technology could be monitoring your facial expressions, determining which ads interest you and which ones don’t? That data can be saved and sold to advertisers and marketers who can use it to cater their ads to your specific interests. Minority Report’s portrayal of marketing in the future is becoming a reality. Face recognition is at ball games, concerts, airports, train stations, on websites and in smartphones, in stores and on billboards.

Should People be Concerned?

Of course, marketers, retailers, police, security officers, and government officials are happy with face recognition software. It has the potential to make a lot of money, stop a lot of criminals, save a lot of missing children, rescue many sex trafficking victims, and stop terrorists before they can even enter the country. It can catch your image as you’re buying lunch, and it can catch the image of the criminal who just snatched your purse. But is the loss of privacy really worth it to the average citizen? Some believe it is a matter of opinion, but in most countries, enough opinion can make a law.