The security systems have improved exponentially over the years from the secret passcodes, fingerprint sensor to the latest sophisticated facial recognition technology. Though these security mechanisms ensure safety at a great level there are certain drawbacks when it comes to face recognition.
Face recognition software matches the photos taken by security cameras and cell phone cameras to police and government databases. Hence it is a great tool to identify a person’s identity and thus solve crimes.
Even with these benefits comes with some dangerous consequences says Woodrow Hartzog, professor of law and computer science at Northeastern University. The computer algorithms which are used to identify a person’s face can be wildly inaccurate and prone to replicating the racial or gender-based biases of the engineers who built it. This is a terrible blow for the face recognition software since incorrect identification can have life or death consequences.
This month, San Francisco became the first major US city to ban the use of facial recognition technology by police and other agencies. Other municipalities including Somerville, Massachusetts, are considering measures to ban or curtail the use of the technology as an important step toward recognising the danger.
Hartzog says, “One of the reasons facial recognition is so dangerous is because it’s bad when it’s inaccurate, but even worse when it’s accurate.” He also suggests that in order to determine a person’s identity, officials need a photo and identifying information. This information should be shared widely and quickly.
He concludes by saying that the idea of technology will keep evolving and we can’t do anything about it is just not true.