Facial recognition technology has soundly moved out of the world of science fiction and into our own reality.
Who is in a position to collect massive amounts of data on just about every person on the planet? First, I'll take you through the capabilities and dangers of FR and show you that, even in my small Oklahoma town, FR appears to be a reality, as the world's largest retailer seems to be collecting truckloads of data on its patrons who are simply searching for "everyday low prices."
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FR technology is so real, and so pervasive, that there is little doubt that you have been and are being facially fingerprinted and identified just about every day even if you don’t leave the comfort of your own home.
While some people despise the idea of having their images and anonymity taken without their permission, others are fine with it and many many others are unaware it’s even being done at all.
One of the most serious concerns about facial recognition is that it allows secret surveillance at a distance," "Suddenly, you're really not anonymous in public anymore." While its true that there can be no real expectation of complete privacy while you choose to move about publicly, there is a reasonable amount of anonymity people should expect even while participating in community-oriented functions, like going to the store or driving down the road.
But the more technology advances, and the more of it you accept into your life, you have to realize that there’s a trade off. Usually, if you want that fancy new electronic gadget or want to participate in the convenience of public commerce, you end up giving up part of your very identity.
Think about it: We’re so advanced these days that facial detection and recognition technologies, as well as sophisticated finger print readers are tucked inside the cell phones and mobile devices you use every day. How pervasive is this? Take a second right now: think of somebody you know who isn’t in possession of, infatuated with and always looking at one of these devices. People interact with them when they could be having a conversation with a real person, they walk with them, go to bed with em and wake up by em. Everywhere you go, somebody some where has a face illuminated with the light of that little screen. Even little kids have ‘em these days. Little kids. We’re talking 4 or 5 years old…sometimes younger.
Most of these units have front-mounted, high-resolution cameras, finger print collection systems, Global Positioning and data collection applications constantly running in the background. Knowing this we continue to leave our identities and viewing habits in the hands of people and corporations we don’t know.
High Tech systems have become so advanced and so wide-spread that there are billboards and street advertising placards that scan your face in order to determine which ads to show you.
Home gaming systems are being used to decide which ads to show you at home based on your emotional state. There’s an app for detecting people’s faces at bars to help you decide where you want to get your drink on. Developers have come up with an app that lets you use your face to rack up on discounts at stores. There’s a dating service for the narcissistic that will set you up with someone whose face looks like yours.
And of course, Facebook, Google and Apple employ the widely accepted technology that helps you more quickly and accurately tag friends in photos.
The undeniable bottom line is that companies salivate over your personal data. The more they know about you, the more accurately they can tailor their sales pitch and increase their chances of setting their marketing hooks deep into your consumer oriented jaw. Business executives see you as one in an immense mass of fish and not only are they trying to produce the most appealing products for you to bite into, they are actively using the latest surveillance technologies to closely study your appearance, mannerisms and movements. They can examine the way you walk, the way you communicate, what clothes you wear, how your eyes respond to certain outside stimuli, what sites you click on, how long you stay on those sites, where you are at any given time of day, what music you listen to and what you download.
In newer vehicles and on street mounted cameras your driving habits can be assessed and the information accessed by those who could stand to make money from YOUR data record.