Facial Recognition & Potential Harms
Artificial Intelligences’ most talked about advancement “facial recognition” has been the talk of the digital world. While facial recognition in smartphones makes the personal data safe and ensures privacy, there are rising concerns attached to this feature.
With cameras embedded in all modern day communication devices, facial recognition can be used without the consent of its users. This technology helps government’s investigations and can even propagate false prosecutions.
Until recently companies have been actively developing and using facial recognition technologies without any regulation. But since the privacy concerns started getting attention, countries are now starting to make laws to regulate the use of facial recognition to ensure that the personal information of people is used only with their full consent. However, there is no law to ensure a regulated usage of facial recognition in the US. Absence of any rules and regulations has raised concerns amongst the digitally educated masses and big corporations that are developing and using the technology.
“We live in a nation of laws, and the government needs to play an important role in regulating facial recognition technology,” – Microsoft president Bradford L. Smith
These concerns of privacy breach and unregulated usage of data by government and tech giants cannot simply be ignored by the lawmakers. There are many examples of facial recognition technology’s inaccuracy leading to flagging innocent people, and scanning numerous others at U.S. borders and airports. Even big names like Facebook have been found scanning users’ faces without their permission or knowledge. These incidents set a precarious example for others to follow. This makes it even more critical to regulate the use of facial recognition technology.
If not monitored efficiently, border security can easily be compromised at the hands of substandard facial recognition software. This might seem like a farfetched assumption, but we have numerous examples of facial recognition softwares being faulty. One such example is the case of the South Wales police that used facial recognition to detect suspicious people at a soccer match, 87.5% of those recognised were false positives. The huge figure of 87.5% shows the extent of inaccuracy of such softwares. Of course all of these softwares are not inaccurate but the chance of false recognition is still there.
The US government must formulate laws, for a regulated use of facial recognition technology that has vast social implications and probability of exploitation, to ensure our data privacy.