The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) warns that facial recognition technologies are a much greater threat to privacy than the public believes. These systems have become something ubiquitous in our lives, it is what is behind the “magic” that makes Facebook know who to tag in our photos, and is very present in the surveillance systems of street security cameras Or airports.
Increasingly sophisticated facial recognition systems are used by authorities in several countries to identify citizens on the streets or on social networks, comparing our faces with those of gigantic databases. The problem is how people are constantly being investigated by law without their consent and in many cases without even knowing it.
The EFF notes a new report created by the Georgetown Center for Privacy and Technology Law in the United States. Investigators sent more than 100 applications to police agencies asking for public records and found troubling results …
- One in two American adults has his image in a facial recognition network. This is more than 117 million people.
- Cities like Los Angeles, Chicago and Dallas have used or considered face recognition systems to scan the faces of pedestrians in real time through surveillance cameras.
- Facial recognition works virtually without regulation . In the United States no state has created laws to limit facial recognition.
- The worst part is that facial recognition systems have a disproportionate impact on black communities. One study found that technology is less reliable when analyzing faces of people of color.
Problems of inaccuracy are ignored
They also denounce how the problem is not only the authorities, but those who sell the biometric technologies aggressively , trying to ignore their defects with the excuse that they are crucial for modern police.
There is already a serious problem in the United States about the disproportionate level of black community members being arrested, and if technology is more likely to misidentify individuals, it also increases the likelihood of someone being suspected of a crime he did not commit.
Facial recognition systems work by algorithms that identify facial features from images or video with a person’s face. Algorithms can analyze patterns of particular traits and compare them with other images in their databases to find similarities. These databases are susceptible to abuse by governments and technology companies alike.
The EFF has joined a long list of initiatives that demand the regulation of facial recognition. This is not only a problem in America, but in the rest of the world where these types of systems are increasingly being used. Face recognition represents a real danger to our privacy and civil liberties.