Facial Recognition Software: Privacy or Protection?

by Seth Griger


A controversial topic has made its way into news recently: facial recognition software. Whether it is garnering support or disapproval, its presence has become more and more relevant as technology progresses, and sources say it’s here to stay. Most modern phones already use facial recognition as a security measure, utilizing it as a means to unlock an individual’s phone. Many have brought up the issue of privacy, uncomfortable with the idea of corporations or law enforcement maintaining facial records as opposed to their own personal device.

The use of facial recognition software by police to search for suspects in a crowd has grown particularly controversial. Though some argue that this impedes on individual privacy, judges have concluded that it is perfectly legal for law enforcement to use facial technology in various investigations. The consensus remains split amidst the general public, however, with many arguing that the protective benefits of this software outweigh the risks of it disrupting people’s privacy. The inverse opinion claims that the mapping and unmonitored use of personal, individual faces ultimately undermines civilian privacy and goes against their rights.

The United States is not the only place to face this dilemma; in China, another use of the technology is being implemented as some stores turn to facial recognition as a way of payment, thus eliminating the need for cash or cards. Customers simply walk up, allow a camera to scan their face, and let the technology charge the corresponding account. The same issues rise with privacy rights and technological accuracy, but the general public sees it as a quick and efficient way to do away with checkout lines.

These are but two ways in which facial recognition has made its way into culture all around the world. There are many differing opinions on its various uses, but most agree that its use is not going to slow down any time soon. Whether seen as positive or negative, it is vital that the public be kept up to date on the use of facial recognition, allowing them to consider how they want technology to be utilized in their lives.

For further information regarding facial recognition software in these circumstances, please be sure to consult our sources here and here.