For many years, Facial recognition systems were considered the stuff of sci-fi novels and spy movies. This technology has always been a concept that lived in fictional worlds. And now, it is quickly becoming a reality. Today, our technology has developed this field significantly as we are seeing it become more common in our everyday lives. While this new technology can be valuable when trying to find terrorists, some people think that it is an invasion of their privacy.
So, is it an invasion of our most basic rights to privacy?
Facial recognition is a type of Biometric Technology that analyzes the characteristics of a person’s face to identify or verify a person. This technology uses distinguishable facial features, such as nose width and cheekbone shape, to compare a digital image to your identity. This technology is able to identify key factors within a very busy visual environment, making it very useful in picking out individuals even in crowded places. Pioneers of automated face recognition include Woody Bledsoe, Helen Chan Wolf, and Charles Bisson.
The technology works by mapping that person’s facial features and saving this unique information as a “fingerprint”. The software can compare an image of a person’s face to the information saved in the database, to confirm their identity. This type of technology is mostly used for security and data protection purposes, but other uses are becoming more widespread.
How does facial recognition system work?
The human face has a total of 80 “nodes” that can be used in facial recognition, but it only takes 14-22 nodes to identify a person’s face. The mathematical algorithms of biometric facial recognition follow several stages of image processing:
Capture. The first step is for the system to collect physical or behavioral samples in predetermined conditions and during a stated period of time.
Extraction. Then, all this gathered data should be extracted from the samples to create templates based on them.
Comparison. After the extraction, collected data is compared with the existing templates.
Matching. The final stage of face detection technology is to make a decision whether the face’s features of a new sample are matching with the one from a facial database or not. It usually takes just seconds.
The Apple iPhone X and Facebook already use facial recognition technology.
There are many different applications for face recognition technology, however, depending on how to use it can come with many advantages and disadvantages.
Automated security processes also mean that less security personnel would be put in potentially dangerous situations.
Fast and Accurate
With the ever-increasing demand for speed and the growing number of cyber attacks, having fast and accurate technology is key. Facial recognition technology provides verification that is convenient, quick, and accurate. Although possible, it is very difficult to fool facial recognition technology, which makes it beneficial in helping prevent fraud.
A facial biometric security system can drastically improve your security because every individual who enters your premises will be accounted for. Any trespassers will be quickly captured by the recognition system and you would be alerted promptly. With a facial recognition security system, you can potentially reduce the costs of hiring security staff.
Instead of manual recognition, which is done by security guards or the official representatives outside of the company’s premises, the facial recognition tech automates the identification process and ensures its flawlessness every time without any haltings. You won’t even need an employee to monitor the cameras 24/7. Automation means convenience and reduces the expenses too. Therefore, any entrepreneur would be fond of the fact that image identification systems are fully automated.
Because facial recognition technology is automated, it also reduces the need for security guards to personally verify a match. This means businesses can save costs on hiring security staff and other security measures.
Easy integration process
Most of the time, integratable facial recognition tools work pretty flawlessly with the existing security software that companies have installed. And they’re also easy to program for interaction with a company’s computer system.
The identification process is also under great pressure of the surveillance angle that was responsible for the target’s face capturing. To enroll a face through the recognition software, the multiple angles are being used - profile, frontal, 45-degree, etc. But to generate a clear template for the face, you’ll need nothing less than a frontal view. The higher resolution photo has and the more direct its angle is the more accurate resulting matches would be.
In today’s world of data, data storage is gold since there is so much data in the world. Whether it may be a very high-quality movie or 100,000 faces to store, everything requires space. This means that in order for facial recognition systems to be efficient, they only process about 10-25% of videos. To combat this, many companies use many computers to process everything and to cut the time it takes to do so.
High Implementation Costs
Facial recognition requires top-quality cameras and advanced software to ensure accuracy and speed.
There are concerns that biometrics are progressing too rapidly for regulators, legislators, and the judicial system to set up standardized rules and precedents around their use.
Who uses facial recognition?
A lot of people and organizations are using facial recognition — and in a lot of different places. Such as:
U.S. government at airports
Facial recognition systems can monitor people coming and going to airports. The Department of Homeland Security has used the technology to identify people who have overstayed their visas or may be under criminal investigation. Customs officials at Washington Dulles International Airport made their first arrest using facial recognition in August 2018, catching an impostor trying to enter the country.
Mobile phone makers
Apple first used facial recognition to unlock its iPhone X and continues with the iPhone XS. Face ID authenticates - it makes sure you’re you when you access your phone. Apple says the chance of a random face unlocking your phone is about one in 1 million.
In school and colleges
Facial recognition software can, in essence, take roll. If you decide to cut class, your professor could know. Don’t even think of sending your brainy roommate to take your test.
Social media companies
Facebook uses an algorithm to spot faces when you upload a photo to its platform. The social media company asks if you want to tag people in your photos. If you say yes, it creates a link to their profiles. Facebook can recognize faces with 98 percent accuracy.
Some companies have traded in security badges for facial recognition systems. Beyond security, it could be one way to get some face time with the boss.
Churches have used facial recognition to scan their congregations to see who’s present. It’s a good way to track regulars and not-so-regulars, as well as to help tailor donation requests.
Retailers in stores
Retailers can combine surveillance cameras and facial recognition to scan the faces of shoppers. One goal: identifying suspicious characters and potential shoplifters.
You might be accustomed to having an agent scan your boarding pass at the gate to board your flight. At least one airline scans your face.
Marketers and advertisers
Marketers often consider things like gender, age, and ethnicity when targeting groups for a product or idea. Facial recognition can be used to define those audiences even at something like a concert.
Stock photo from Lasteek