by Chris Jones
Facial recognition technology (which I will refer to as FRT) has always been around but never saw much application in mainstream technology until around a decade ago, when Apple decided to add facial scanners to their iPhones. Nowadays, it’s hard to avoid FRT, whether you’re using an Apple device or walking down the street.
And like most other technologies, FRT has its fair share of uses and issues. Today, I want to go over these uses, issues, and how you can stay safe in a world acclimating to widespread facial recognition technology.
Growing Trends of Facial Recognition
First things first, let’s go over ways in which FRT is being used.
Why don’t we start with security? FRT has always been a security-centric technology, but there’s been a growing case for using FRT in consumer devices, especially phones, tablets, and laptops. FRT is much harder to crack than fingerprint scanners or regular passwords. So much so, in fact, that even apps take advantage of FRT, especially online banking apps.
Along with security, FRT enables advancements in the pharmaceutical/medical industry. Medical professionals can use FRT to aid in diagnosing of certain diseases and disorders, ensuring accuracy and treatment at a faster pace.
Lastly, let’s talk about FRT for law enforcement. Law enforcement have been using FRT to catch criminals and supervise certain parts of certain cities, especially in areas where crime runs rampant.
Why the Growth of Facial Recognition is Good
I want to start off by going over 3 ways FRT is benefitting the world right now.
Firstly, we have the growth of security, or as some would call it, the growth of security consciousness. More and more people are becoming aware of their security. Before, not many people really cared about their security, but the benefits FRT brings piqued the interest of many consumers and citizens.
Also, FRT allows for infinite growth in the security sector. I hinted at it earlier when discussing trends, but I feel it should be mentioned. Increased awareness of crimes going on, being able to keep devices locked away with a face scan, etc.—there’s so much potential for FRT.
The Growing Concerns of Facial Recognition
I could go on and on about the benefits facial recognition brings to the table, but it would be reckless of me not to discuss the dangers of facial recognition, of which there are many.
Many of these dangers concern the privacy risks inherent to FRT. The extra security is nice, but is it worth the government adding a camera to every street corner? I don’t think so, and neither do many others.
Because of these growing concerns, FRT growth has been…slower than expected. Rushing the technology through the door will only add to the conspiracies surrounding it. Also, if the technology isn’t perfect, mistakes will happen, and these mistakes will only inhibit the growth of FRT.
But now that we know concerns are growing around FRT, what can we do? Is there anything we can do to protect ourselves against FRT. Well, yes…and no. It’s a complicated answer.
How to Protect Yourself Against Facial Recognition
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent from being entered in an FRT database or being recognized by a random camera on the street.
For one, you may want to wear special glasses and masks that are designed to “confuse” cameras and keep you from being identified. If you don’t like the aesthetics of that solution, you could always use a VPN, which may prevent companies and governments from gathering data on you to add to a database.
There are other solutions, of course, but there’s a catch to all of these solutions: they’re not guaranteed to work. FRT is becoming more widespread, and at a certain point, keeping your face hidden will be next to impossible, if not completely impossible. A VPN to secure your information helps, yes, but it’s not guaranteed to keep your face from being entered into a database,
But there’s always room for success, so I recommend you to try anyways!