Facial recognition technology (FRT) continues to receive a tentative rollout. This is as different sectors continue to deploy facial scan devices in their different work stations. While some countries only use facial recognition technology as a security measure during high-profile events, others seem to have accepted its use across all sectors.
You will find that most of the airports and other public facilities that you visit have this facial recognition technology in place. This raises the question: isn’t this monitoring getting overboard?
This article discusses the important ethical issues surrounding facial recognition technology. We will also suggest effective ways of safeguarding your anonymity in a world that wants to spy on your every move.
Table of Contents
- What is facial recognition technology and what are the emerging trends?
- Definition of facial recognition technology and how it works
- Recent trends in facial recognition technology
- Is the use of facial recognition technology ethical?
- Advantages of facial recognition technology
- Disadvantages of facial recognition technology
- How you can protect yourself?
What is facial recognition technology and what are the emerging trends?
Definition of facial recognition technology and how it works
Facial recognition can be simply defined as the use of cameras to identify a face from a photo or a video. Through an artificial intelligence system, a computer is able to mark the distinct features of a person’s face by taking note of key characteristics such as the actual measurements between the eyes and the ears, the structure of the jawbone, and other prominent facial features.
After gathering these features, the facial recognition device creates a face print or face map which is then stored in the system’s database. From this point, the face-scanning device can identify matching faces by simply comparing them to the face prints that are in their database.
Recent trends in facial recognition technology
Facial recognition technology is on the rise and the earlier we are aware of the trends, the better. Here are the recent trends that is shaping the path of this innovative and controversial technology;
1. Improvement in face-mapping innovations
There are more developments happening around this innovation. For instance, recent months have seen an improvement in this technology’s vision and capture ability. It’s now possible to take clearer captures that help depict the exact physical states of the individuals appearing on photos or on recorded videos.
2. Face recognition for internet banking
In a bid to enhance the security of their customers’ accounts, internet banking experts are now including facial recognition features as an additional security layer to the traditional verification methods such as passwords and email verification.
This technology is becoming more common as more online industries take it over as a fraud mitigation method.
3. More cameras at the airports
Various airlines from across the world have implemented a face scan technology at their airports. Many more airline companies have voiced their intentions to deploy the same across different airports all over the world.
This move continues to digitize check-ins and other travel clearances at the airports.
Is the use of facial recognition technology ethical?
Critics of the facial recognition technology say that it overrides on basic human rights. We’ll let you be the judge. Here is a look at the good and the bad about this technology.
Let’s explore them below.
Advantages of facial recognition technology
It is trendy! In fact, it is a state of the art and innovative technology! And it doesn’t end there, these are other advantages of facial identification;
1. Better security
With the use of surveillance cameras, facial recognition has made identification and tracking of criminals such as thieves and trespassers much easier. Government security agencies are also able to identify terror suspects with the help of this technology.
2. Streamlined identification process
Facial recognition technology has helped phase out the traditional identification processes that were not only time consuming but also suffered high inaccuracies. The facial recognition identification process provides an alternative that is not only fast but also secure.
3. Fast and more secure processes
A face recognition process is fast and secure. It outdoes the other authentication processes that are always susceptible to attacks. It provides instant results which makes the identification process flow more smoothly.
Disadvantages of facial recognition technology
Although it might be changing the way many things are done, facial recognition has its dark side. For anything that is termed innovative and disruptive, there is always room for abuse/misuse and here are the disadvantages of using facial recognition in this modern-day era.
1. Possibility of recognition errors
Being a system that runs on artificial intelligence, a slight change in the positioning of a recognition camera can give an erroneous result.
If this happens in an identification or authentication process, a user may be denied access because of the slightest changes in appearance or the camera’s capture position.
2. Data breaches
This is where the question on the ethical viability of facial recognition rises. While the collected data may be intended to track down the lawbreakers, it can also track everyone else down. Including you; anytime, anywhere.
3. Lack of regulation
Most countries do not have any regulations governing the use of facial recognition technology. As a result, different entities continue using it without a clear and consistent framework. Without a regulated guideline, data collected from these processes can be misused.
How you can protect yourself?
The thought of having your every move monitored can be overwhelming. However, it is difficult for you to stay away from all public places that have a surveillance system in place. Aware of the existing vulnerabilities in this technology, you can do a few things that will keep you protected. They include:
1. Wearing a mask
You can always prevent a facial scan device from capturing your face by wearing a mask. This will make it difficult for the device to scan the bottom area of your face. A mask will help hide the targeted areas such as the nose and jawbones.
2. Wearing a hat
Wearing a hat is another way to protect you from unwanted surveillance. Hats with brims help obscure the shape of your face protecting a shield from cameras especially those that are mounted on high walls.
3. Editing your photos before sharing them on social media
Memorable moments are marked by memorable photos and we all love sharing them online. It is, however, advisable to vary the original photos by modifying them. Go for modifications that make photos hard to scan using a facial recognition system.
4. Styling up wisely
Maintain a look that is difficult for the cameras to scan. Consider stylish looks that block sections of your face that are mostly targeted by facial scans. Areas to disguise in your looks include the eyes, nose, forehead, and jawbones.
5. Opting out of the Facebook recognition feature
Facebook uses a facial recognition feature that enables it to identify your face from photos in order to suggest a tag. Stay out of this recognition feature by turning it off. Once logged in, you can disable this feature from the settings and privacy tab.
6. Using VPN to safeguard your anonymity
The government and other spying agencies may go out of their way to spy on you. However, you can still safeguard your online activities by using a VPN to guarantee your anonymity.
VPNs encrypt online interactions making them invisible to any third party. This is to say, should any spy agency succeed in accessing your face print from some facial recognition database, they still will not be able to track you down based on your online activities.
VPN data encryption technology makes data invisible to spies and therefore inaccessible. It’s a sure way of keeping important information relating to your personal data private.
As different sectors of the world continue to deploy facial scan devices in their work stations, facial recognition technology (FRT) is on an upward curve, and it is not going to stop anytime soon – that is why exploring the dangers and the benefits look ideal today. Clearly, the rate at which facial recognition equipment has been embraced tells us that this technology is here to stay. This is despite the many ethical concerns that surround its use. Governments need to wake up and protect their people by coming up with legislative policies that take care of the privacy and data breach concerns.
As we wait for the much-needed actions to be taken, you can maximize the tricks discussed above. Practicing them can make your face difficult for the systems to identify and you might just be able to get away with some anonymity.