Facial Recognition: What Is It?
Face recognition is the ability to identify individuals from photographs or other images based on their face. Facial recognition is used in many different situations such as identifying criminals, preventing fraud, and even verifying identity documents.
How Does Facial Recognition Work?
In order to use facial recognition technology, there are two main components that need to work together. One component is the computer program that processes the image and identifies faces. The other is the images that the computer program can compare your photo to.
These systems work by first transforming the images of faces into what is known as a Facial Recognition Template (FRT). This is a set of numbers used to identify the unique facial characteristics of a person’s face. These numbers are created using mathematical algorithms known as eigenfaces.
Once the computer has an FRT, it can then compare it to other FRTs. It does this by transforming images of faces into an FRT and then looking for a match from a database of FRTs.
These systems can be quite accurate. In fact, tests have proven that some facial recognition programs are more accurate than human facial recognition experts.
How Is Facial Recognition Used?
Facial recognition technology is used in a variety of different situations and for a wide range of purposes.
For example, law enforcement agencies can use facial recognition to catch criminals. They can also use it to identify the deceased or find missing people. For example, after the Boston bombing in April 2013, facial recognition was used to identify the bombers from surveillance cameras.
Facial recognition can also be used for security purposes. It can be used to grant access to specific people in a building or even your phone. Some newer cars use facial recognition to allow the driver to start the car without a key.
Companies can also use facial recognition to identify repeated customers and offer them special discounts. For example, many grocery stores use facial recognition to identify when someone has not been in the store for a long period of time. When this happens, they send coupons for items that person regularly buys to entice a purchase.
Why Is Facial Recognition Controversial?
While facial recognition can be used in many different ways to identify people, it can also be extremely invasive.
For example, law enforcement agencies have access to a database of hundreds of millions of photos. Catching criminals is just the beginning of how they can use facial recognition. They can also use it to track people’s movements and find people who have otherwise gone off the grid.
In fact, as computers get more powerful and the database gets larger, it will only get easier to track people in this way. Many people feel like this is a violation of their privacy and that law enforcement should not have easy access to this database.
Facial recognition can also be used for nefarious purposes. For example, the FBI has admitted that it has used facial recognition to identify and arrest protesters during political demonstrations.
It can also be used for advertising purposes in a way that many people find extremely creepy. Companies can scan photos of people in public and try to identify them. They can then take this information and create a profile of someone’s shopping habits, favorite places, etc. Some people feel like this is an invasion of privacy and that it should be illegal for companies to collect this information without permission.
What Are Some Other Ways That Computers Are Used to Identify People?
Facial recognition is certainly one way that computers can identify people, but it’s not the only way. There are other techniques that can be used to achieve the same purpose.
Some of these methods are used by law enforcement agencies. For example, they can use voice print analysis to identify someone. This technique analyzes the unique qualities of someone’s voice, such as how they pronounce certain words or the rhythm of their speech.
Other methods can be used by marketers to identify people. For example, many websites and online services use a system called cookies to learn about someone and offer them personalized information. These systems work by tracking the websites that someone visits and what they do on those websites.
How Can I Protect Myself From Facial Recognition?
If you’re concerned about protecting your privacy from facial recognition, there are things you can do. In some cases, you can even alter your appearance. An obvious option is to put on a mask of some sort. This will prevent facial recognition software from identifying who you are.
However, facial recognition can still sometimes be used to identify people wearing masks. These programs rely on other identifying factors, such as the shape of a person’s eyes or nose. If you really want to ensure your privacy, you’ll have to cover up as much of your face as possible. A hat, scarf, and sunglasses are all useful tools for this purpose.
Another smart option is to encrypt your pictures before posting them online. This prevents other people from identifying you from your photo, and it also prevents the software from being able to match your photo with another one.
You could also try removing any information that could be used to identify you from the photo (such as putting X’s over your eyes). While this isn’t likely to fool a person, it is more likely to fool the computer software.
Finally, if you’re really worried about privacy, you may want to avoid taking pictures altogether.
How does facial recognition work?
Facial recognition works by matching key points on a person’s face (such as their eyes and nose) with a database of similar points.
Can the government track my phone?
The government can access your phone records and GPS signal if you’re under investigation. However, this information is extremely difficult to access without just cause.
Sources & references used in this article:
- The neuropsychology of facial recognition. (AL Benton – American Psychologist, 1980 – psycnet.apa.org)
- Impairment in facial recognition in patients with cerebral disease (AL Benton, MW Van Allen – Cortex, 1968 – Elsevier)
- Multilinear image analysis for facial recognition (MAO Vasilescu, D Terzopoulos – … recognition supported by user …, 2002 – ieeexplore.ieee.org)