Facial Recognition – The Good, The Bad….And The Ugly

March 30, 2017

Ever wonder why you can’t smile in your DMV photos anymore?  Well, it’s simple, facial recognition is thrown off when a face shape changes drastically through smiling.  Yup, you can trace how far back they started this no smiling policy, that’s about as long as the government was loading their data bases with millions upon millions of faces.

With all the cameras in the big cities they could be tracking just about anyone in real time, gone is your privacy.  It is said we all have someone who looks just like us, scary thought isn’t it?  

Law enforcement agencies around the country have at this time around 400 million photos in face recognition data bases. 

On March 22, 2017 at a facial records data base hearing, Congress voiced their views to the FBI.  Here is what some had to say:  

Rep. John Duncan, R-Tennessee, said: “I think we’re reaching a very sad point, a very dangerous point, when we’re doing away with the reasonable expectation of privacy about anything.”  

Democrat Elija Cummings of Maryland indicated that facial recognition is less accurate in people with darker skin, women and younger people in particular.  

“If you’re black, you’re more likely to be subjected to this technology,” said Cummings, who is African-American. “And the technology is more likely to be wrong. That’s a hell of a combination, especially when you’re talking about subjecting someone to the criminal justice system.”

This system that the FBI uses maybe considered out of hand to some. But there are good things that it is used for as well.

Researchers with the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), part of the National Institutes of Health use this face recognition software to diagnose a rare genetic disease in Africans, Asians, and Latin Americans. The disease is known as DiGeorge syndrome and velocardiofacial syndrome which affects from 1 in 3,000 to 1 in 6,000 children. The disease affects many parts of the body from cleft pallet, heart defects and a characteristic facial appearance and learning problems.

So, as with every emerging new technology, there is good and some bad.

Facebook, has been doing tests with facial recognition also.  Does that surprise anyone? Not me! Their system is called “Deep Face,” which was presented at the IEEE Computer Vision Conference in 2014. It’s facial recognition has a 97.25 percent accuracy.  But, my question is why is Facebook doing this? Do people who are on Facebook know they are doing this?  Facebook also says it’s tapped into a pool of 4.4 million labeled faces from 4,030 different people on its network in order to help the system learn. So, for all you Facebook fanatics, you are now officially guinea pigs!

If Facebook is brought into technology like this, what else could they be doing? Just a question that should be seriously thought about if your a Facebook fanatic.


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