Facial Recognition Technology: A Threat To Privacy?

Facial Recognition Technology: A Threat To Privacy?

Imagine living in a world, where you are followed by machines covertly and being judged by them based on your face. Yes, that’s terrifying!! This technology has the power to secretly track your movements. In fact, they can even guess your gender through facial features alone. Its worrying because in coming future, we will be addicted to this technology.

Now, when machines that can read your face is going mainstream, it is changing the way we are living. Soon our face will become our permanent password and face id will not only be used to unlock smartphones but bank accounts too.  We will be forced to face the future!!

The human face has an astonishing variety of features, which not only help us recognize others but even read and understand them through a constant flow of intentional and unintentional signals. It is one of the unique functions that separates man from machine. There has been a huge amount of progress in the underlying technology called machine learning. It allows you to pull out a very accurate faceprint out for a photograph that uniquely identifies a person.

Pioneering facial recognition is yet to be mainstream but the recent iPhone X has face recognition built in it, this may become the main reason for the growth and adaptation of this technology. Soon, there will be millions of those devices in the world and we are going to use for unlocking our phone followed by our banking apps. Apparently, people will start considering it as the most secure gateway for transactions and other private matters.

face id

Source: de.engadget

The use of this technology is not limited to unlocking phones. It is just the beginning. Experts out there are at the forefront of a technological revolution. They have invented a simple way that transforms a photo into a text. They are teaching machines to read faces. How? This machine measures the distance between eyes and lips or nose and lips, the width of your lips etc. and at the end of the process, we are just left with a simple text, which is the basis of face recognition. This software has the power to identify one face from millions in under one second.

Its precision makes this technology as an effective tool for surveillance. This means that you are being stalked continuously and you are unaware about it. Retail stores are using this technology to generate data about customers. They are tracking their shopping habits and targeting in-store adverts. Companies are using this for identifying employees, who are taking extra breaks, to check attendance and to keep everyone on watchlist.

However, China is ahead of this small game-tracking. This place is a harbinger of the future for this kind of technology. Several companies have access to the government image database that covers at least half of the Chinese population. They are widely using it for security purpose and tracking terrorists but they are also using it to let people pay in restaurants.

Recently, some experts have claimed that the technology of Face ID is going down as they have invented a baseball cap that can unfailingly trick facial recognition software into thinking it’s you, when you are not. How? The inner side of the cap is laced with tiny LEDs that shoots infrared dots onto “premeditated spots” on the wearer’s face to cleverly modify their features via a technique known as “adversarial learning.”

face id scan

Those infrared rays are invisible to our naked eyes, which allows clever deceiving to the security as well as to our best friend! This development has come into the light when various government and companies are using facial recognition in security cameras with the aim of developing cities of the future.

This new ability to record, store and analyze images of faces on a vast scale will fundamentally change the notions of privacy, fairness and trust. This is a matter to worry about as most of the companies are forging ahead to make this technology an everyday part of our lives.

So, the real question is whether we should stop progressing over the fear of privacy? Are the advantages of security of business information are far greater than some privacy issue? Or rather should we consider it as a wake-up call to companies and governments that are planning to implement facial-recognition technology into security cameras. Till now, we were considering it as a secure and reliable source for life-threatening situations like authentication and surveillance but now, when we are aware of its vulnerabilities, the question is whether we should work towards making them a reality?

This technology is a new kind of power and the only way we possess to deal with this problem is to make regulations that repress bad uses and allow for the perceived good uses.

Please comment in the section below, if you have any opinion to share.

Next Read: How to Disable Face Recognition from Facebook Account?

Shalini is a technical blogger at Systweak. She likes most things in general and likes to cover trending topics in a different light. She has a special affinity for chocolate cupcakes and shopping excursions.

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