How Facial Recognition Technology Is Changing The World

January 14, 2021

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phone, fintech notebook, and coffee cup on table, with a hand over the notebook with a pen.

“It’s 2021!” they said.

“All of our troubles will melt away now!”  they said. 

And then an angry mob stormed the Capitol building. 

In the first week of 2021, technology has proven to be the leading industry to fight illness, attacks against our government and our personal data. 

 

Facial Recognition on Social Media

 

An attack on arguably the nation’s most important building took place as hundreds of people stormed the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. Many took photos of themselves ransacking the building, stealing or defacing historical items, and trashing government documents. These photos were posted to social media and news sites worldwide.

 

It didn’t take long for individuals to be identified, mostly by citizens linked to them.

 

Prosecution of these individuals also becomes easier thanks to the photos, posts, and even livestreams hosted on social media.

 

When asked about the difficulty of defending a client with photographic evidence, this is what the attorney for Adam Johnson, an accused Capitol attacker said:

 

Johnson’s lawyer admitted to reporters that the photograph of his client is “a problem.”

 

“I’m not a magician,’’ Dan Eckhart added. “We’ve got a photograph of our client in what appears to be inside a federal building or inside the Capitol with government property.” (Vox.com)

 

Facial Recognition in Everyday Life

 

Facial recognition is becoming a standard in our personal lives, whether we recognize it or not. When taking a photo with an iPhone or Android device, have you noticed that the phone is able to identify individuals without your help?

 

This software is now standard in some household devices such as Google Home.

 

“Face Match, the name Google calls the technology, keeps a digital eye out for faces passing by. When it recognizes yours, it displays content just for you: photos, messages, appointments and even how long of a commute you can expect.” (cNet.com)

How Does Facial Recognition Work?

 

By pinpointing facial elements, the software can start to recognize similar elements, such as face shape, eye shape, and mouth shape. Once put together, it can narrow down by using other images and comparing the data.

 

Law Enforcement Relies Heavily On Facial Recognition Companies

 

What was not easily identified through social media is now traceable through facial recognition software. Clearview AI is one software that scrapes data from websites in the public domain to identify individuals quickly.

 

“Ton-That said that Clearview’s customers, including the FBI, were using it to help identify the perpetrators: “Use our system, and in about a second it might point to someone’s Instagram page.” (Spectrum.ieee.org)

 

The ethical collection of this data is questionable, although it could be argued in the Capitol case that storming a public building with photo security throughout may waive the rights to privacy.  One thing is for sure: the continuous collection of data will lead to stronger facial recognition databases. This is an area of technology we can expect to see growth in 2021.

 

If you are interested in working on technology’s latest projects, such as AI or facial recognition, we might be able to help. We work with some of the nation’s leading technology divisions by providing IT Solutions, Apprenticeship Programs, and IT Staffing.

 

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