Face Recognition- A Threat to privacy?

Face Recognition- A Threat to privacy?

Face Recognition has been playing a huge role in our life, but still one question remains unanswered. How safe is that for our privacy and at least how accurate is it?

How Facial Recognition Software Follows You - Panda Security

Recently, Tech giants Amazon and IBM have banned their face recognition software use from the police. Moreover, in light of the same, Microsoft too has limited the sale of its face recognition software from the police department in the United States.

The above actions are taken in light of the protests in the United States due to the police brutality on the George Floyd case. But what did face recognition has to do with it and more than that, there is a big question that connects to basic human rights.

The face recognition system was widely used by the police forces to identify the law breakers with the database and still being used for various purposes.

The problem that is being raised due to facial recognition is the use of color to judge criminals. Several studies at MIT(Massachusetts Institute of Technology) labs have found out that the Artificial intelligence-based face recognition system has a massive loophole of judging criminals based on video surveillance on the basis of their skin complexions and they have found out that they are biased towards particularly black people and they also biased behavior towards particularly female gender.

This is something which questions the accuracy of facial recognition and questions the algorithm used for building such technologies. This also puts up an issue as to how much can we really rely on face recognition to judge criminals and make up a decision of life and death.


In light of the same, first Amazon has banned the use of its software from police for one year stating that they first need to review the policies and then followed by IBM and now followed by Microsoft (which has limited the selling of its software with some regulations).

Use of facial recognition

In spite of the use of facial recognition by police, there are many other uses of facial recognition technology. It is majorly used in smartphones for screen locking, app security, and widely used in social media for tagging people in posts and giving auto suggestions in various processes. It has an enormous potential in developing future AI(Artificial Intelligence) applications and many researchers and developers have spent years in developing facial recognition technology.

How is it a threat to privacy?

In recent times, there are major issues related to data security which lots of people have raised up and many big companies have been already dealing with such issues for a long time.
But the facial recognition technology raises even more privacy-related issues as it is something that is even more problematic than smartphone-related issues as it is something for which we do not need any special gadget access or any luxury as for this, we one need something which we have since we were born- our face.

There are cameras everywhere in the modern world, and thus, by facial recognition, anyone can excess all our geographical location. In the case of phones, we may have an alternate of disabling all the location settings and thus we may secure our privacy, but in this case, there is no escaping. All we need is a camera surveillance which is essentially in most of the public places and our face (unless you can walk around covering the whole of your face, but even then there is still some possibility you may get recognized).

This raises the question of our privacy, think about what would happen if someone gets a hold of this technology? It’s like they can get each and every move of almost any person in the world and they can store all of our geographical histories with them.

Furthermore, many researches have found some big loopholes in the face recognition model’s accuracy in dealing with real life situations of criminal identification. There are many cases which have already put in question the future of this technology and the recent protests in US may lead to even more discrepancies for the future use of this technology.

In the end, the debate remains open- Did face recognition have a future? And can a method be devised so that it can be used without violating our basic right to privacy.

Ankur Gupta

Ankur Gupta

Just a learner.

Ankur Gupta

Just a learner.

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