Facial recognition is popping up everywhere. If you’ve been travelling overseas lately you may have come home to facial scans at Customs and Border Patrol. And if you’re using any social media services, undoubtedly you’ve been tagged or recognized by the facial recognition software built into the service.
Soon facial recognition could be used to do things like open up your electronic devices. Imagine the security of decryption that only responds to your face. Barring some unlikely event like a kidnapping a la the Harrison Ford movie Firewall, the data on your device should be ultra secure.
Christopher Mims writes at The Wall Street Journal about the new technology:
Using our faces to unlock things could soon become routine, rather than the purview of spies and superheroes.
Qualcomm Inc., QCOM -0.67% an industry leader in mobile device chips, recently introduced its Spectra imaging system, which can extract depth information from objects including faces. The company plans to include the technology in a forthcoming generation of its flagship Snapdragon mobile processors. Meanwhile, when firmware forApple Inc.’s forthcoming HomePod speaker leaked online, developers spotted cluessuggesting that an upcoming iPhone might have similar depth perception and facial recognition.
This technology is different from, but related to, the facial recognition increasingly built into security cameras around the world, which cross-references pictures of your face against databases of millions. That tech is growing in capability and in use—especially in China, where its applications range from surveillance to payments.
Fortunately, your phone’s camera has a few advantages over surveillance equipment. It doesn’t need to spot you in a crowd. It just needs to distinguish one face—yours—and it can do that very well, since you’re not some shadowy figure captured in bad light. From a foot or two away, your phone can quickly capture a detailed image.
Read more from Mims here.
The question that must be asked is, what is the outer-bound of comfort with technological intrusion into your life? At what point does the usefulness of facial recognition technologies become a burden to those who employ it?
The reality is, unless you’re willing to go to some extreme stylistic measures with your hair and makeup (see video below), facial recognition is something all people will need to become accustomed to.
The Rise of Counter Surveillance Fashion
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