Facial Recognition And Its Privacy Threats
Artificial Intelligence has changed the way we talk about privacy and surveillance. A single algorithm can review thousands of hours of video, data, or find patterns. All these innovations have led to the generation of a new technology that has revolutionized the field of Artificial Intelligence: facial recognition.
Facial recognition is a technology that allows distinguishing and identifying a person within an image through algorithms and visual analysis. The recognition is carried out by comparing an image with a database and analyzing its facial features.
Recognition has many benefits and applications, especially when it comes to security. Many cities have adopted facial recognition software to search for criminals or inspect customs and airports when foreign visitors enter a country. In the field of digital security, it is used as a second security measure in addition to a password or fingerprint. An example of this is the new range of cell phones such as the IPhone X or the Samsung Galaxy S10, which are unlocked with the face of their owners. In addition, another relevant use is the search for people. Gartner estimates that facial recognition will help reduce the number of missing persons by 80% in the next few years.
However, despite all its benefits, the recognition is the center of a strong controversy on the subject of privacy. To what extent should companies or governments be allowed to obtain a biometric profile of their citizens?
Firstly, many activists criticize the use of facial recognition as a direct intrusion on their privacy and personal information. With this technology, not only the actions of an individual are video recorded, but also analyzed, taking away their right to privacy and anonymity.
There is research that shows that the development of facial recognition technologies is done without taking into account the skin tones of people of color, resulting in algorithms failing to recognize this group of people more frequently.
To some extent, many of the privacy concerns relate to the use that governments may make of biometric information. Some authoritarian countries, such as China, are investing heavily in the development of this technology to exert control over their population. With approximately 200 million cameras throughout its territory, the Chinese government monitors its citizens to suppress any type of criticism and dissent. This phenomenon is even greater with the country’s ethnic minorities. Uyghurs, a Muslim minority, are constantly monitored through the use of facial recognition. The policy of the Asian country has been criticized by many human rights organizations since they consider it a strategy of supervision, control and monitoring of all the activities of its citizens
Although the Chinese case is quite extreme and not all countries can exercise that level of control over people, it is still a very controversial topic. Due to criticism and demands from their citizens, places like the City of San Francisco have banned the types of surveillance systems that involve facial recognition as any of their metrics
Facial recognition, despite its disadvantages, represents an important technological advance that will give companies and businesses opportunities for growth and efficiency not seen before. However, for a genuine digital transformation, it is important to have a partner that offers the best solutions for a successful implementation strategy. With 20 years of experience and knowledge in current technological trends
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