World Economic Forum: Facial Recognition Poses Privacy Risk

World Economic Forum

As more nations mull tapping into facial recognition technology to bolster security, an expert at the World Economic Forum said governments should consider the privacy of individuals.

Facial recognition technology can identify people with video frames or digital images, while remote sensors, artificial intelligence, and high-definition security cameras have made the innovation more powerful and grown its use cases, CNBC reported.

“The problem’s really two-fold,” said WEF Head of Artificial Intelligence Kay Firth-Butterfield. “Firstly, with the government use of facial recognition technology, and then also with the company use of facial recognition.”

WEF said in a report that governments need to take action to make sure there is transparency as well as fair use of facial recognition systems.

The extent of data that can be taken in on a single person is large, which brings up concerns over privacy. And, unlike other kinds of biometric information collection, facial recognition technology can take in data on people without their knowledge.

Individuals have been incorrectly identified in some cases, and the WEF noted that studies have demonstrated facial recognition to be biased. In addition, WEF was reportedly invited to work with India in taking on some of the questions surrounding privacy and facial recognition.

In separate news, San Francisco officials voted in May to prohibit the use of facial recognition technology by city workers in an 8-to-1 vote. The rule also called on city agencies to submit their policies for surveillance technology so the public could look at them. San Francisco is among the cities that are fighting back against facial recognition in the United States.

And, while government agencies have tapped into the technology in the past, technological advances are bringing about concerns surrounding discrimination and privacy. City agencies, however, will still be able to tap into surveillance tools and can make special requests to use restricted surveillance tech in some circumstances.


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