The Major Concerns Surrounding Facial Recognition Technology

Sunny Samanta

1st Mar'21

Imagine spending a perfect weekend laying on your porch with a glass of wine in one hand and a brilliant thriller book in the other and just when turning the page on to the climax scene, you see a group of armed officials storming into your property. A moment later, they are surrounding you with some guns pointed at you and saying, “You are under arrest.” Yes, under arrest on charges of a murder that took place in a state on the same day you visited for a business meeting.

Now, this is not the plot of the next Tom Cruise starrer Mission Impossible movie but a picture of the possible reality that could happen to any of us in the future. There can be many reasons for this but the one I’m talking about is none other than facial recognition technology. A lot has been said in favor of it and a lot has been said against it. But in this post, I will be highlighting some of the major concerns that need to be looked into with great interest because our future could be at stake.


Facial Recognition


The Story So Far

Facial recognition technology has been a breakthrough invention for the man-kind. It has a wide range of uses identifying people on Facebook to finding a missing person. However, if I have to pick, the two major usages of facial recognition technology are surveillance and personal identification, especially facial unlock on our mobile phones. Be it airport, station, or any popular location you will most likely have to go through surveillance cameras. 

So, we are at a point where this technology has become a part of our daily routine. But with how easily this technology is available some legit concerns are surrounding it that you can read about below.


Major Concerns Surrounding Facial Recognition Technology

For those who still do not know, facial recognition technology uses the database of photos containing mugshot and driver’s license details. With this, it can be identifying either of you in security photos and videos. It is one of the rapidly embraced technologies that can be anywhere. It uses biometrics to map facial features and help them verify the facial features through key features of the face.

When it comes to the key features, the absolute key feature is the geometry of our face that can be used to create a “facial signature.” By the way, the geometry of the face refers to the distance from a person’s forehead to the chin or distance between the person’s eyes. And as the market for this technology is increasing exponentially, there are certain concerns raised around it that are:

Lack of Federal Regulation

Overall, this is the main concern in many places. With how easily the facial recognition technology can be used, there is always concern raised regarding the authenticity of the facial recognition technology. There is the belief that the technology can be biased or misused in the wrong hands. Furthermore, the accuracy of the facial recognition technology has often been under the scanner as has been the case involving color people, especially black women.

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Law Enforcement

Several countries have now taken facial recognition technology as a means of law enforcement purposes to curve down criminal activities or to detect the criminal sooner. However, just like in the beginning I was trying to explain, this could lead to misidentification and thus causing an innocent all the harms of dealing with a criminal case they have nothing to do in the first place. This is again all due to how this technology works in the first place, i.e, by using the geometry of our faces that can be identified with others around the globe.

Justice needs to represent accuracy and authenticity and hereby using facial recognition systems, they are neglecting their prime purpose to possibly solving a case sooner. In other words, this can harm our society a lot. Nevertheless, this chinks in the armor isn’t enough for some nations to use it for law enforcement purposes. Therefore, this is a major concern too.

These were the major concerns surrounding facial recognition technology and while the technology is rapidly growing, it can be a great tool if used properly or could be harmful equally.

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A lone wolf by definition, a writer by heart, and a lost star with ambitions to light up the dark both inside and around me, sometimes by immersing myself into books or video games or traveling with a backpack to an uncertain destination believing that life is all about the choices we make and we don't.


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