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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Assessing impact of using facial recognition technology

In a previous video I talked about the importance of assessing the impact of technology before adopting it. Today I want to talk to you about the impact of increased use of facial recognition technology. You may have already heard about the use of facial recognition technology to detect the mix of male and female customers at bars. Facial recognition technology is also used to identify people on the street or in a crowd.

Facial recognition is what is known as biometrics, which is identification of people from some features of their body such as fingerprint, iris pattern, or facial characteristics. No matter what biometrics we pick, if you stop and think about it for a moment, you would realize that your fingerprint or facial image does not come with your name stamped on it. Rather, somewhere in a computer system your facial image and your name are linked together. That linkage between your name and your facial image must be correct to begin with and the information must be stored securely.
Additionally, facial recognition systems are not error-free and there is a potential for misidentification.
So, as much as facial recognition is useful, it is not error-free. Therefore, you need some protection when the facial recognition technology misidentifies you as someone else. You need some way of correcting the mistake.
There is also the potential of someone trying to fool a facial recognition system by presenting, for example, a photograph or a video of you as your face. Something has to be done to detect such misuse and not accept a photograph as substitute for a face. It’s not easy to overcome this problem because facial recognition system identifies people from photographs or videos.
This means that if you are using facial recognition technology to identify customers or perhaps suspected criminals, you have to make sure that appropriate security precautions are in place to protect the linkage between a person’s facial image and their identity information and that the information is correct in the first place. You must also provide some sort of recourse when someone is misidentified.

Here's some more information to help you...
You may find my previous videos on technology impact assessment and biometric technology helpful:

NBTMV - On the need to assess impact of technology...

NBTMV on using biometric technologies to identify ...

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