What are the impacts of facial recognition on society?

What are the impacts of facial recognition on society?

In the early 1960s, an unnamed intelligence agency funded the first attempt at automation of facial recognition. Technology has improved, needs have changed and data collection has become significantly smarter since then, allowing facial recognition to have real-world everyday consequences, both positive and negative.

Traditionally a government-centric technology, facial recognition has become the talk of the airline industry, the banking industry, smartphone companies, the computer industry, and more. With accelerated improvements in processing power, facial recognition can be assessed in real time and without the consent of the individual.

The perception was much different pre-September 11, 2001. This perceived type of futuristic technology was only something people saw in Hollywood and fell under the umbrella of Big Brother is watching us. At Super Bowl XXXV the federal government ran a test in which it scoured the 100,000 attendees and reported to have found 19 potential risks. This test was subsequently discovered by the media, leading to public conversation on privacy concerns.

When questioned about the secret test, Tampa police spokesman Joe Durkin expressed, “It confirmed our suspicions that these types of criminals would be coming to the Super Bowl to try and prey on the public.” The dilemma, which in my opinion was the result of 9/11, becomes a conversation about improved security and the impact on our personal privacy.

Nothing substantial came of this test other than Tampa exploring the use of facial recognition further for a year, with mixed results. Being able to run facial recognition in real time poses all sorts of complications: lighting, facial angles, covered faces, rainy weather. Their testing eventually fizzled out over the next few months.

Public conversation began to shift after 9/11 when fear of terrorism and prevention of said terrorism overshadows the invasion of privacy issue.

Posted on 7wData.be.