One of the biggest selling points of the facial recognition technology is that it works at a distance. This negates the need for the direct contact necessary with any security system such as the fingerprint scanner.
Facial recognition systems work by creating a blueprint of sorts of a face. This is done by taking an image with a camera and then measuring distances on a face, known as nodal points, including between eyes and the width of noses.
This image can then be used as a reference. This allows for these systems to be utilized for authentication purposes. If a person's face is captured and it matches with a reference registered in a facial recognition system, access is granted.
Many facial recognition systems create 2D images during the recognition process. The iPhone X however creates 3D models of a face. This allows for a more detailed image and decreases the chance of the system being fooled.
How Facial Recognition is Improving Our Lives
I'm not seeking to bash facial recognition in any way and recognize its value. This is just an examination of both sides of the coin. A good place to start is with the positives.
In addition, Chinese police officers at the Zhengzhou East high-speed rail station in the capital of Henan province are using the technology to help identify possible suspects. Their system makes use of a portable device connected to a camera, which is mounted on a pair of sunglasses.
This process relies on a system where problem gamblers voluntarily sign up to be placed on a banned list. If they subsequently enter a casino, they can be recognized by the system.
If this happens, security personnel then verify that it is indeed a person on the banned list. The offender is then removed from the premises and the offense recorded. Consequences such as a trespassing charge can be imposed.
An airport in the Henan provincial city of Nanyang is also using a similar system. However, their system is already working for passengers. A facial scan is carried out and used to verify their identities before boarding.
Well, the brick-and-mortar stores are using facial recognition technology to gather data about the habits of customers. While this type of usage is still in the early stages, retailers will undoubtedly seek to implement facial recognition in their business strategy.
After building up a profile on users, the data collected could also be used to create targeted ads. This could mean a double barrage of targeted ads from both e-commerce and brick-and-mortar retailers.
Lack of Anonymity
With the prospect of data being constantly collected by facial recognition systems, there is this looming concern that, at some point in the future, you may not be able to go to many places without being tracked online.
Living in such a world would be quite restrictive.
There are clearly many beneficial uses of facial recognition technology and its use should not be dismissed due to the privacy concerns. However, great care must be taken to ensure that the data collected is not mishandled.
Steps must be taken to ensure that facial recognition data is only accessible to parties who have permission. Apple seems to be doing a good job in this area with the iPhone X's system. Facial recognition collected on Apple's flagship phone is only stored locally, is encrypted, and is deleted after a day in most cases.
Targeted ads due to facial recognition data is a touchy area since retailers will relentlessly pursue this in order to improve their profit margin. However, consumers should at least be given the option to opt out of being targeted by such ads.
To sum up, I think facial recognition should definitely be embraced but we should all be very aware of the possible dangers that surround its use.