Privacy Tip #272 – To Get Up to Speed on Facial Recognition Technology Read This

It’s called This is how we lost control of our faces in the February 5, 2021 edition of MIT Technology Review, written by Karen Hao.

The article outlines a study recently published by Deborah Raji and Genevieve Fried titled About Face: A Survey of Facial Recognition Evaluation, which includes a survey of over 100 face datasets compiled “between 1976 to 2019 of 145 million images of over 17 million subjects….” It reportedly is the largest study of facial recognition technology ever conducted.

Hao posits that the study “shows just how much this enterprise has eroded our privacy. It hasn’t just fueled an increasingly powerful tool of surveillance. The latest generation of deep-learning-based facial recognition has completely disrupted our norms of consent.”

There are way too many fascinating things about Hao’s synopsis of the study and the study itself to summarize in a blog post. Both are worth reading and contemplating in determining facial recognition technology’s impact on our own privacy, as well as how we want different facets of society to respect our privacy if using facial recognition technology. The study analyzes the development and use of facial recognition technology over the past 30 years. It is relevant and insightful into how we can shape parameters around the use of facial recognition over the next 30 years and beyond.

As Raji and Fried say, “Facial recognition technologies pose complex ethical and technical challenges. Neglecting to unpack this complexity-to measure it, analyze it and then articulate it to others-is a disservice to those, including ourselves, who are most impacted by its careless deployment.”