Have you ever wondered why a visitor’s face is scanned at Airport, Railway Stations, and Ports etc. whenever you enter a country? Or how the latest smartphones is able to unlock using your face only instead of a pattern or PIN? The answer is Facial Recognition Technology (abbreviated as FRT).
Facial Recognition works by putting everyone’s unique facial structure to the Data Base. This software is able to analyze your topographies, match it with information in a database and identify who you are.
The facial recognition market was valued at $USD 5.7 and 3.97 billion USD in 2018 and is predicted to grow to 10.19 billion USD by 2025. While some are pushing for increased use of this technology, others raise into question the privacy and accuracy of it.
Technological systems can sometimes vary when it comes to facial recognition, but the general functioning is as follows
Step 1: face detection
To begin, the camera will detect and recognize a face, either alone or in a crowd. The face is best detected when the person looks directly at the camera. Technological advances have allowed small variations of this to work as well.
Step 2: facial analysis
Next, a photo of the face is captured and analyzed. Most facial exams are based on 2D images instead of 3D because you can more conveniently match a 2D photo with public photos or those in a database. Distinguishable landmarks or nodal points form each face. Each human face has 80 nodal points. The facial recognition software will analyze the nodal points, such as the distance between the eyes or the shape of the cheekbones.
Step 3: Convert an image to data
The analysis of your face becomes a mathematical formula. These facial features become numbers in a code. This numerical code is called faceprint. Similar to the unique structure of a fingerprint, each person has their own facial fingerprint.
Step 4: find a match
Your code is compared to a database of other facial prints. This database has photos with identification that can be compared.
The FBI has access to more than 641 million photos, including 21 state databases, such as DMVs. Another example of a database that many have access to is Facebook photos. Any photo that is tagged with a person's name will become part of the Facebook database.
The technology then identifies a match for its exact characteristics in the database provided. Return with the match and the attached information, such as name and address.
While facial recognition may seem futuristic, it is currently being used in several ways. Here are some amazing applications of this technology.
Other applications use facial recognition in order to protect your data. Even a secure password cannot protect your accounts and information from expert hackers, so people have resorted to facial recognition. These applications require your face to unlock your smartphone or access private data.
Identification of genetic disorders
There are health care applications such as Face2Gene and software such as DeepGestalt that use facial recognition to detect a genetic disorder. They analyze faces and compare them with a database of faces of those that contain these disorders.
Many stores have facial recognition systems that mark people as a threat if they have stolen. This system can identify the thief and notify the store owner of their past discrepancies, even if they had never entered that specific store before. While this may be beneficial for store owners, the accuracy of the system is often questioned. If an innocent person is mislabeled as a thief, it could affect his whole life.
Some grocery stores and bars in the UK use facial recognition to identify if people are old enough to buy alcohol. Grocery stores allow customers to use the self-payment for alcohol without the need of an additional employee waiting to verify identifications. People identified as under 25 need their IDs to be verified.
Facial recognition is beginning to join schools. A school in Sweden uses FRT to call class attendance. Schools in the USA The United States, specifically in New York, are beginning to test the use of facial recognition to serve as an "early warning system" against threats from people like sex offenders. Technology can also recognize 10 types of weapons to prevent acts of violence in school.
Airlines like Delta and JetBlue are using facial recognition to identify passengers. Biometric facial scanning is optional, but it will allow those who fly to use their faces as a ticket, saving time and avoiding the hassle of keeping track of a ticket.
The application that makes you old
Has your social media feed been filled with the gray-haired faces of the elderly in recent months? FaceApp, an age filter that uses facial recognition to age your face, acquired traction in the world of social networks. Unfortunately, there is concern that the data you collect from faces is not safe.
While many industries have implemented biometric facial scanning in their daily tasks, many hesitate to accept these progressive technologies. Those who are against this technology are concerned about errors of recognition, privacy and misuse of data.
Facial recognition may not always match the faceprints accurately with the database. Errors usually occur due to poor images or a lack of information in the database. Poor lighting or poor image quality can make accurate analysis of the person's nodal points difficult. The data is affected when the angles of the face are obscured. This creates an error in the faceprint, making it impossible to match the correct data in the database.
In other cases, the database is not large enough to have an exact match for everyone. Even the database used by the FBI, FACE Services, returned 153,636 photos of unknown people between August 2011 and April 2019.
Many are concerned about the privacy issues that come with facial recognition. Technology can track it, which bothers people. In addition, large data breaches are very common these days and personal information collected by facial recognition software is not immune.
A recent violation revealed that 100,000 photos and plates were compromised by the Border Agency database. These data are related to those entering and leaving the US. UU. Another violation was discovered in a UK biometric system used by banks, in which fingerprints and facial recognition information of more than one million people were discovered in a publicly accessible database. These violations highlight the failures in the security of facial recognition databases.
Misuse of data
While the Pew Research Center found that 56% of Americans are confident that law enforcement will use facial recognition responsibly, others do not trust that the data will be used ethically.
The study also found that while most thought it was acceptable for police to use facial recognition technology to assess threats to security in public spaces, they did not believe that other uses, such as monitoring apartment buildings, companies tracked assistance of employees or advertisers seeing how people respond to ad displays were acceptable. This distrust comes from the fear that these private companies will misuse the data.
Not only do private entities have access to data, but many facial recognition databases are public. This means that anyone, even those with malicious intentions, can find it in the database and locate it.
How to avoid an individual from facial recognition?
Some cities, such as the technology centers in San Francisco, California, and Somerville, Massachusetts, have banned police and public agencies from using facial recognition software. On a higher level, Congress is discussing putting limitations on technology. While it is not possible to completely cancel biometric tracking, there are some things you can do to reduce your fingerprint in these databases.
Keep track of your state's association with FACE
Knowing how your state interacts with the FBI will give you an idea of where your information is going. The FBI has an internal unit called Facial Analysis, Comparison, and Evaluation, or FACE, which has facial recognition capabilities. Some states have an association that allows FACE to use state information, such as a driver's license and photos of police photography, while others do not allow such use. Search your status in your report to find out if your information is being used in the FBI database.
Exclusion of photos in the US Customs UU.
Americans may choose not to participate in the facial recognition scan in the US. If you do not want your photo to be in the system. Simply inform an airline official or employee at the time of the facial recognition scan and your documents will be scanned manually.
Stop tagging photos on social networks
Companies like Facebook and Google have their own facial recognition database thanks to consumers who voluntarily tag their photos in the applications. Avoid having your face monitored in your database by resisting the need to tag photos. Also, if others have added photos of you, be sure to uncheck them.
Get a VPN
To prevent stores from connecting your habits in the store with your online activity, invest in a VPN that can hide your online activity. A service like Panda Dome VPN Premium will allow you to browse anonymously and will be a step towards reducing the amount of information that can be linked to your photos in facial recognition databases.
In conclusion, this is not the last time you will hear about facial recognition. There are many advances in progress to make technology faster, more reliable and secure. Until then, stay updated on what your rights are and make sure you protect your identity from theft.