Friend or Foe?.. The Controversies of Facial Recognition Technology


Facial recognition is one of the fastest-growing technologies in the world. Facial recognition is a biometric technology used to identify or authenticate faces by digitally mapping a person’s facial features. While the novel technology offers some noteworthy benefits, it also threatens certain fundamental rights and freedoms. In this article, we look at some of the reasons why the advancement of facial recognition technology may not be such a good idea.

But first, how does facial recognition technology work? Facial recognition software takes measurements such as the distance between your chin and forehead, eyes, or the width of your nose to create a facial signature. Sometimes also referred to as a facial template, a facial signature is a mathematical formula that is stored in a facial database and used to compare the physical characteristics of a person’s face to uniquely identify that person or confirm their identity.


Trends and Use Cases

Facial recognition tech has a wide range of applications in business and government. The AI-based technology has enhanced the operations of businesses across various industries significantly in areas such as access to accounts and services, fraud prevention, and security. For that reason, face detection technology is becoming increasingly common in business.

In an effort to safeguard personal data, smartphone manufacturers are now incorporating facial recognition tech as an authentication method. Across the world, airports are using face detection technology to verify passengers by capturing their images via biometric self-boarding gates. Despite all these benefits, it’s hard to ignore the risks associated with facial recognition tech. Here are the pros of and cons of facial recognition technology:



  • Security. The most common argument in favour of facial recognition tech is its potential when it comes to improving safety. Law enforcement groups can use the technology to combat terrorism and find missing children. Companies can use the tech to prevent fraud and enhance security at their premises.
  • Healthcare. In healthcare, it’s already possible to detect genetic conditions and track the use of medication by a patient more accurately thanks to advancements in facial recognition technology and deep learning. These technologies are also useful when it comes to pain management among people suffering from chronic pain.
  • Retail. Business owners can analyse the shoppers’ behaviour and improve the overall shopping experience by placing cameras on their retail outlets. Retail is one area where facial recognition technology appears to the most promising.



  • Privacy. Facial recognition technology allows government agencies and law enforcement to identify and track individuals’ movements without their knowledge and consent, which is a gross violation of the right to privacy. Privacy is one of the biggest concerns when it comes to face analysis tech.
  • Inaccuracy. At its current stage, facial recognition tech is far from perfect. The software is prone to errors and enhances the misidentification of minorities. With the adoption of the tech in law enforcement countries such as the US puts people of colour, especially black women, at risk.
  • Data Security. Governments collect and store different types of facial recognition data in databases. These data repositories are prone to cyberattacks, which creates a security risk. Facial recognition data has been stolen from the hands of government agencies many times.


Here, you can see that despite its benefits, facial recognition technology can be problematic. The use of face detection technology to identify and track individuals violates the fundamental right to privacy and evokes the feeling of being watched among the public. The technology is often inaccurate and biased against people of colour. Despite its many shortcomings, it looks like facial recognition software is here to stay.

There are possible ways to protect yourself against this invasive technology. You can start by turning off the facial recognition feature on Facebook and wearing glasses or masks in public. But that’s not enough. Make sure that you use a VPN to protect yourself from eavesdroppers and other online threats. It is one of the most effective ways to maintain anonymity on the internet.


Source/Credit:  TurnOnVPN


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