sec - Data Security and Privacy Concerns facing Facial Recognition Technology

Data Security and Privacy Concerns facing Facial Recognition Technology

facial recognition technology only gained substantial popularity in the past couple of years, its history dates as far back as the 1960s when an American mathematician and computer scientist, Woodrow Wilson Bledsoe developed ways by which faces could be classified using mere gridlines.

As expected, the technology was rather archaic then and could only match 40 faces within the space of an hour. As of today, we have facial recognition technology that can identify and match an image within seconds. The efficiency and effectiveness of this technology have given it a rite of passage into our daily activities.

datasec - Data Security and Privacy Concerns facing Facial Recognition Technology


Understanding the Basic Operations of Facial Recognition

Simply put, facial recognition is a piece of software that detects and identifies human faces by using artificial intelligence, machine learning, and deep learning technologies for its implementation.

The technology works on two major principles – image acquisition and image matching. The whole system works based on the procedures mentioned below:

  • identify images from pictures or videos;

  • compute the geometric measurements of the identified faces;

  • calculate a formula based on the measurements gotten and;

  • compare the value gotten with the ones in the database till it finds a match.

Facial Recognition Systems in our Daily Lives

Top tech giants have been able to integrate this technology into mobile devices in order to beef up the device security. Just like the fingerprint feature, the facial recognition software has been made easy and convenient to use. Still, on security, this same technology is being used in household security – with a number of houses having surveillance cameras that can alert the homeowner or any emergency correspondent if unknown faces are detected by the system.

All the aforementioned sound appealing and exciting to use but the bitter truth is, it comes with its own flaws. The downsides associated with this technology can unfortunately thwart the promising future that the technology seems to have.

Despite all these seemingly attractive benefits of this technology, why then is it assumed to pose a danger to humans?

Privacy Concerns with this Technology

For this technology to work efficiently, it is essential that the database contains a large pool of data with which detected images can be compared with. However, for companies to amass a large amount of facial data, going through the proper channels of obtaining owners’ permissions will lead to a slow procurement so as expected, they manipulate their ways.

More often than not, companies obtain facial data by offering their customers some form of incentive for using the facial recognition system. A very good example is airlines that use facial recognition systems to check their passengers on board, perform bag drops and pickups, etc. With this, the passengers no longer have to wait for a very long time in queues and they of course enjoy this convenience.

What the passengers are oblivious of is the fact that the images of them taken at the different points are compared with images in the database and then eventually stored – without their permission. This almost seems like a privacy trap for the passengers, at the expense of a comfortable traveling experience which many do not mind.

Data Security

As you very well know, every system is vulnerable to attack and so are the systems of these institutions that obtain facial data. In the eventuality that their systems get hacked and the facial data stored on their systems get stolen or compromised, what’s to say the amount of damage that could arise as a result of whoever gets hold of such data?

Safety Tip

The best everyone can do is to clamor for better reforms and regulations with regards to the way our facial data is collected by these institutions. On our part, using a VPN to secure your information is one way to go in preventing our data from getting into the wrong hands even when we have no choice but to send personal information over the Internet. A VPN encrypts the data being sent over the Internet so they are pretty much useless to anyone who intercepts them.

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