Using facial recognition tech is necessary for public safety

Ensuring people’s security is one of the worthwhile reasons to support face-recognizing technology

Back in 2017, coming to terms with using facial recognition for something as simple as an iPhone lock was a bit difficult to digest. Since it provided fool-proof security, however, I scanned my face from all angles to create a secured lock on my phone.

Within a year, everyone was storing the geometry of their face onto their phones.

Now, facial recognition technology is spread out everywhere, be it in a snapshot for running a red light, a driving license photo, tagging people on Facebook, or scanning my face instead of using a boarding pass at the airport.

When I learned about companies sharing the visual data of my face I was concerned, as the facial recognition technology uses AI algorithms to learn a face’s structure to recognize people,  but I realized I already don’t have the right to privacy when I choose to enter a public space.

There’s no right in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom to stop a citizen from taking a photo or video in public, as long as it’s not for commercial use in a movie.

There are questions about problems like errors and malfunctioning technology and concerns about how it creates a lack of privacy. However, I believe it would be the right call to make facial recognition part of surveillance and security tools for the public good.

The technology of facial recognition has made some progress in the U.S., Russia, China, Japan, Israel, and Europe, and other countries are still developing.

The technology could help find criminal suspects, such as those of riots and assaults. It can also help recognize criminals on a spree, like in 2017 when Chinese police used facial recognition to catch criminals amidst a live concert.

Britain is also using facial recognition technology to track incoming and outgoing shoppers. This would be beneficial to shopkeepers for security reasons and help the marketing and advertising sector produce tailored ads based on what customers purchase. With the help of facial recognition, there could be provision of advanced surveillance and security in public spaces, the technology would be able to reduce crimes such as shoplifting.

In 2020 the AI technology helped the RCMP rescue children from abusive and exploitative situations.

“While we recognize that privacy is paramount and a reasonable expectation for Canadians, this must be balanced with the ability of law enforcement to conduct investigations and protect the safety and security of Canadians, including our most vulnerable,” the RCMP said in a statement.

In times like these, when the whole world is hit by a pandemic and everyone is trying to a create a touch-free routine and adapt to a work-from-home environment, facial recognition technology would be particularly helpful in situations like logging into computers at work and school, accessing ATMs, getting access to lounges or high security areas, or reducing cybercrime and other fraudulent activities.

Facial recognition technology has also been beneficial in organizing data to make technology more accessible and convenient. When I order from Starbucks, I tap my card with Apple pay and scan my face for the transaction to go through. It’s that easy. While there’s a downside to the technology, there stands a long list of pros that add to the convenience and security of facial recognition.

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