Are You Safe?
Start writing a post
Politics

Are You Safe?

The Dangers of Facial Recognition Technology

475
Are You Safe?

On Tuesday, May 14th, San Francisco banned the use of facial recognition technology by police and other local agencies.

According to The New York Times, the bill "makes San Francisco the first major American city to block a tool that many police forces are turning to in the search for both small-time criminal suspects and perpetrators of mass carnage."

And why is this important?

Because San Francisco, best known for its role in the technology revolution, is setting an excellent example of how much/little facial recognition technology should be used. Civil liberty groups have already expressed their discontent about the use of facial recognition. They argue that such technology could easily be abused by the government as it gives police so much surveillance power. Additionally, they insist that facial recognition could lead to bias since such technology can be less accurate for minorities.

Matt Cagle, a lawyer with the A.C.L.U. of Northern California, sums up the importance of the bill by saying that the San Francisco proposal "is really forward-looking and looks to prevent the unleashing of this dangerous technology against the public" as such technology, he said, "provides government with unprecedented power to track people going about their daily lives."

What is facial recognition technology?

Using biometrics to map facial features from a photograph or video, facial recognition technology compares this information within a database of known faces to find a match.

How is facial recognition used?

According to Norton, there are four basic steps of facial recognition:

"Step 1. A picture of your face is captured from a photo or video. Your face might appear alone or in a crowd. Your image may show you looking straight ahead or nearly in profile.

Step 2. Facial recognition software reads the geometry of your face. Key factors include the distance between your eyes and the distance from forehead to chin. The software identifies facial landmarks — one system identifies 68 of them — that are key to distinguishing your face. The result: your facial signature.

Step 3. Your facial signature — a mathematical formula — is compared to a database of known faces. And consider this: at least 117 million Americans have images of their faces in one or more police databases. According to a May 2018 report, the FBI has had access to 412 million facial images for searches.

Step 4. A determination is made. Your faceprint may match that of an image in a facial recognition system database."

Who uses facial recognition?

The U.S. government at airports, mobile phone makers in products, colleges in the classroom, marketers, and advertisers in campaigns, businesses at entrances and restricted areas, religious groups at places of worship, social media companies on websites, and retailers in stores use facial recognition. The Department of Homeland Security uses facial recognition systems to monitor people leaving and going into airports.

Apple uses facial recognition to make sure people are who they are when they unlock their phone. To see who was absent from class, some professors use facial recognition to identify who attended class. Like colleges, churches have used facial recognition to scan their congregations to see who's present.

Facebook uses a facial recognition algorithm to identify faces when you upload a photo to its platform. Some companies use a facial recognition system for their employees to access different clearance levels. Retailers combine surveillance cameras and facial recognition to scan the faces of shoppers. Markets use facial recognition to target specific groups for a product or idea.

Is facial recognition technology safe?

That depends on how it is used. Facial recognition technology arguably makes everybody become subject to the surveillance of the government. Therefore, some people fear the advances are outstripping the government's ability to set restrictions to protect people's privacy.

How is facial recognition technology dangerous?

Some fatal issues include security, prevalence, ownership, safety, mistaken identity, and basic freedoms. Facial recognition could result in your facial data to be stolen by hackers. Because facial recognition is so widespread, your data could end up in the hands of random people. You may lose ownership of your digital face. You could be harassed and stalked online. Because facial recognition systems may not always be 100% accurate, law enforcement may mistakenly identify a criminal with an innocent, similar looking person. It could become impossible to remain anonymous as facial recognition could identify where you are and what you are doing at any time.

Bottom line?

In the past decade, cameras have advanced significantly. No longer are cameras just devices to take photos, but rather human identification systems. On one hand, facial recognition technology could act as a public safety unit if used ethically. At the same time, however, there are several issues that could arise and result in cataphoric consequences.

My advice?

Watch what you post on social media. Don't use the facial recognition system on any devices you have. Get a secure router. Never act suspicious or draw unwanted attention to yourself. Always stay alert. And most importantly, trust only a few people.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Student Life

Top 10 Reasons My School Rocks!

Why I Chose a Small School Over a Big University.

95298
man in black long sleeve shirt and black pants walking on white concrete pathway

I was asked so many times why I wanted to go to a small school when a big university is so much better. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure a big university is great but I absolutely love going to a small school. I know that I miss out on big sporting events and having people actually know where it is. I can't even count how many times I've been asked where it is and I know they won't know so I just say "somewhere in the middle of Wisconsin." But, I get to know most people at my school and I know my professors very well. Not to mention, being able to walk to the other side of campus in 5 minutes at a casual walking pace. I am so happy I made the decision to go to school where I did. I love my school and these are just a few reasons why.

Keep Reading...Show less
Lots of people sat on the cinema wearing 3D glasses
Pinterest

Ever wonder what your friend meant when they started babbling about you taking their stapler? Or how whenever you ask your friend for a favor they respond with "As You Wish?" Are you looking for new and creative ways to insult your friends?

Well, look no further. Here is a list of 70 of the most quotable movies of all time. Here you will find answers to your questions along with a multitude of other things such as; new insults for your friends, interesting characters, fantastic story lines, and of course quotes to log into your mind for future use.

Keep Reading...Show less
New Year Resolutions

It's 2024! You drank champagne, you wore funny glasses, and you watched the ball drop as you sang the night away with your best friends and family. What comes next you may ask? Sadly you will have to return to the real world full of work and school and paying bills. "Ah! But I have my New Year's Resolutions!"- you may say. But most of them are 100% complete cliches that you won't hold on to. Here is a list of those things you hear all around the world.

Keep Reading...Show less
Lifestyle

The Ultimate Birthday: Unveiling the Perfect Day to Celebrate!

Let's be real, the day your birthday falls on could really make or break it.

42780
​different color birthday candles on a cake
Blacksburg Children's Museum

You heard it here first: birthdays in college are some of the best days of your four years. For one day annually, you get to forget about your identity as a stressed, broke, and overworked student, and take the time to celebrate. You can throw your responsibilities for a day, use your one skip in that class you hate, receive kind cards and gifts from loved ones and just enjoy yourself.

Keep Reading...Show less
Featured

Unleash Inspiration: 15 Relatable Disney Lyrics!

Leave it to Disney to write lyrics that kids of all ages can relate to.

71361
The 15 most inspiring Disney songs

Disney songs are some of the most relatable and inspiring songs not only because of the lovable characters who sing them, but also because of their well-written song lyrics. While some lyrics make more sense with knowledge of the movie's story line that they were written for, other Disney lyrics are very relatable and inspiring for any listener.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments