Technology has always been both a blessing and a curse. As humans further develop and expand our technological horizons, it is consistently a sight to see. However, we tend to develop technologies and monetize them exponentially before we are aware of how they work. This has been seen throughout history and can be depicted through weaponry, espionage, and cyber attacks. One recent development that shares this characteristic is the development and employment of Live Facial Recognition (LFR).
Recently, this topic has become a concern for the United Kingdom’s Chief Data Protector Regulator. This is due to the fact that this technology has the ability to be abused in a multitude of ways. With current technology, the public is already targeted through biometrics and the employment of this type of technology could easily be accessed and used for capitalistic purposes.
Unlike its existing counterparts such as CCTV and other surveillance technology, LFR has the capability to immediately survey and identify you. Correlating your weekly grocery trip to the time you picked up your child from school, or even when you left work. While this does have the potential to be useful, i.e. providing you with advertisements that might interest you, it also has the ability to be completely invasive. Imagine your everyday experiences somehow become an instance similar to that of Big Brother. This type of tech raises major human rights concerns as it is something that does not have to necessarily be agreed to. There is no control from a public perspective.
This technological additive has been praised by EU and Uk governments as a way to “protect and unite” citizens. Nonetheless, it poses a major threat to privacy and while many have voiced their opinions against this exercise, a majority of governmental figures remain steadfast in their belief to use it.
There are plenty of issues with this technology, as it has the possibility of being wrong which can inherently lead to misidentification or worse. For example, you could walk into a grocery store and by chance the LFR tech identifies you as a shoplifter in your area. This would cause major issues from a plethora of stand points. While this tech is incredible and displays the advances that we have made as a society, it also portrays a grave danger to the sanctity of privacy around the world.
As of right now, the tech is not available for use as it has not been green-lighted across the UK. However, the UK Information Commissioner is not arguing for a total ban of LFR tech. There is still the desire to employ the technology in certain scenarios.
The only question now is: will we be able to protect ourselves from it?