Facial Recognition: From unlocking your phone to a safer concert?

Facial Recognition: From unlocking your phone to a safer concert?

Times have changed. Technology has advanced. Gone are the days when people hired security professionals and set up complex passcodes or scanned fingerprints for security. All you need now is to be able to distinguish faces.


Biometric facial recognition has only one purpose- to identify human faces. It’s the least intrusive method that provides no delays and leaves the subjects entirely unaware of the process. It finds application in various spheres, from unlocking your gadgets to access control in buildings. The government uses it to identify threats, online portals use it for payment confirmations and if you’ve ever visited a Taylor Swift concert, she’s used it on you too!


Woodrow Hartzog, a law professor at Northeastern University, who studies technology and privacy, talks about the security setup at the concert venue. Her security team used hidden facial recognition technology to scan the crowd for stalkers, employing a mode of surveillance that’s still in its infancy and prone to corruption. A kiosk located inside the concert venue for Swift’s show at the Rose Bowl, USA in May played a highlight reel of her rehearsals. Concealed within the kiosk was a camera equipped with facial recognition technology that scanned the faces of those watching the video and sent the information to a command post, where it was checked against a database of Swift’s known stalkers.


How does it work though? “Sometimes ‘facial recognition’ really means ‘facial detection,’” Hartzog said. The technology captures certain physical and behavioral samples and compares them to an available database to draw results. Facial Recognition technology (FRT) solutions are fast becoming the antidote to inconvenient and inept security methods, but there always comes in the debate of how much surveillance can people be subjected to. “That’s one of the things I fear most,” Hartzog said. “Because if we get to that point, it means we have mass real-time surveillance.”


Anisha Naidu

Anisha Naidu
Anisha Naidu


A strong believer in karma. Loves music and indulges in deep thoughts. Prefer the company of dogs over humans and wishes to be a person who speaks many languages.

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