Facial Recognition Technology: Advantages and Privacy concerns you must know about

CXOToday has engaged in an exclusive interview with  Mr. Harish Kumar is the Co-founder and CEO of RecogX.AI


Q1. How Facial Recognition Technology is useful and it’s evolution with time?

Online world has a greater influence on the recognition process than it did in the past, including social media, television, and other more specialised communication networks. Computerised facial recognition has become more accurate and accessible, thanks to developments in artificial intelligence and biometric technologies, especially the development of machine learning capabilities. The relevance of this is that facial recognition can take place in more difficult settings and on a wider scale.

The most recent advancement in face recognition puts the technology up against a yet more difficult application: matching people straight from body worn cameras for real-time recognition for patrolling police officers. First responders are given the tools necessary to recognise a person from a photo and confidently confirm their identification. The more general meaning is that real-time face recognition can assist every contact, including stops and searches and arrests, which will reduce the number of cases of mistaken identity on the streets. First responders can now be dispatched and given the tools necessary to identify larger groups of people of interest with a level of precision that was previously only possible using human memory, which is subject to error.


Q2. Which are the industries and sectors who are thriving due to FRT?

Although facial recognition should not be used to search everywhere for everyone, it has the potential to increase public safety and we should take advantage of this. Almost all industries have the applications of the technology if opted for it. For example – Face recognition could be utilised in the retail sector to record what customers are looking at. This will assist retailers in providing shoppers with optimised promotions via email or web marketing.

In the hotel sector, facial recognition encourages greater customer service. Hotels can activate a guest’s check-ins when they enter the property by connecting the technology to their account. Flyzoo hotel in Hangzhou, China, has a mobile app that  enables guests to book rooms and pay for them directly. Before completing the booking, customers can use the app’s virtual room tour option to learn exactly what to expect from their hotel.

At the airport. Face recognition systems can monitor people entering and leaving the airport. The government security agencies have used this technology to identify those who have exaggerated their visas or may be subject to criminal investigation. Customs authorities at Washington Dulles International Airport first arrested using face recognition in August 2018 and caught counterfeiters trying to enter the

Country.  Digi Yatra launched by the Government of India makes paperless movements easier and avoids identity verification in multiple checkpoints. In order to identify users in face-to-face images posted by Facebook users, Facebook has been implementing a face recognition feature since 2010 – now we can all see it’s growth. State and central police agencies start to use face recognition in varying degrees, such as identifying criminals. Face recognition is also entering the automotive sector in an effort to increase convenience and safety. Facial recognition has several applications in this industry, from car unlocking to theft prevention. Security (law enforcement), health, marketing, and retail are the top 3 sectors that use facial recognition the most.


Q3. How law enforcement agencies and military experts are using FRT in their favour and how successful it has been in helping with preventing crime and violence?

Face recognition is increasingly being used for forensic medicine by law enforcement agencies and military experts. Federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies frequently rely on tools created in the private sector and, in some circumstances, have access to enormous amounts of data that are either stored on private cloud servers or hardware (such as smartphones or hard drives) or are accessible in public spaces like social media or online forums. With the aims of upholding public order, preventing cybercrime, and generally protecting civilians, government entities directed surveillance.

Data collection from civilians by governments and private organisations has a long history, and the accompanying loss of privacy is frequently justifiable in the name of national security, economic stability, or other societal benefits. It also implies that strict privacy and data protection requirements must be met by these AI systems. For example,In 2009, the office of Pinellas County Sheriff created a forensic database that makes executives available to the photo archives of the State Highway Safety Authority (DHSMV). By 2011, about 170 delegates were equipped with cameras that allowed them to take pictures of suspects who could check against databases. This led to more arrests and criminal investigation than was possible otherwise.  It is often the most effective way to clearly identify corpses. Indeed, facial recognition was used to confirm the identity of Osama bin Laden after being killed in an American raid. Recently, for the initial objective of locating and identifying missing children, the Delhi Police acquired FRT too.


Q4. Know where all your photos can be used from surveillance to marketing, how to restrict and control your pictures and personal information to be used as data?

Every internet action by you is tracked by businesses and websites. Your location, browsing history, and other data are collected by every advertisement, social network button, and website. More than you might anticipate is revealed about you in the data collected. You could think you’re clever for not revealing all of your religious convictions on Facebook or never tweeting about your health issues, but chances are excellent that the websites you frequently visit already have all the information marketers need to know about you. This is part of how targeted advertising continues to be among the most frightening inventions on the Internet. Our pictures and data are out in the open, or might also have reached the dark web. Who knows? Following are a few tips to control personal information to be used as data for their own benefit:

    • The best thing anyone can do to safeguard their privacy and security today is to utilise a password manager to create and remember unique, complicated passwords for each account.
    • Everyone should also use two-step authentication whenever possible for their online accounts. Most banks and major social networks provide this option.
    • Ad blockers and interest specific ad blockers are great tools to block ads on social media accounts. While doing this will greatly reduce the quantity of data gathered, it won’t totally solve the issue.
    • A VPN is helpful if you frequently use public WiFi since it increases the security of your browsing when HTTPS isn’t available. It can also assist reduce tracking based on your IP address and offer some privacy from your Internet service provider. However, as the VPN provider’s servers still handle all of your Internet traffic, by utilising one you are choosing to put your trust in it rather than your ISP to not keep or sell your data.

A virtual private network (VPN) may be used by some, but not everyone will need one. A VPN is helpful if you frequently use public WiFi since it increases the security of your browsing when HTTPS isn’t available. It can also assist reduce tracking based on your IP address and offer some privacy from your Internet service provider.


Q5. How companies like Apple leverage Facial recognition as the main feature, marketing it as a security standard and gaining consumers rapidly?

Since Apple CEO Tim Cook published an open letter on the subject of security in 2014, the business has positioned itself as the most privacy-conscious large technology corporation. Apple has released updated iPhone features that limit app access to user data and heavily promoted privacy in television commercials.

In order to avoid tracking pixels that let email advertisers know when and where messages were opened, the Mail app runs images through proxy servers. Apple used the trust it’s built in privacy and security when it launched Apple Card, its credit card with Goldman Sachs, in which users sign up for a line of credit almost entirely inside the Wallet App. Some of their most cutting-edge hardware and software have been developed to allow Face ID. The TrueDepth camera gathers accurate face data by projecting and analysing hundreds of invisible dots to produce a depth map of the face and also takes an infrared image of the user’s face.

Being the major tech company that takes data security seriously might prove profitable and give Apple more latitude to introduce new services and goods. With passing time, more and more customers are drawn towards it due to privacy concerns.


Q6.  The feasibility of FRT in today’s world and upcoming future?

By 2024, FRT is anticipated to generate $7 billion in revenue. From 2019 to 2024, it is anticipated to expand at a compound yearly growth rate of 16%. This also implies that the use of facial recognition technology is now more widespread and well-integrated than ever. Many organisations updated their access control systems during the epidemic by switching out badge or fingerprint readers with ones that use facial recognition technology. This has grown to be especially crucial in a decentralised setting where businesses are responsible for improving workplace security and safety in areas with fewer people.

In the coming years, AI-driven identity verification for access control will improve in both capability and accessibility. For instance, AI enables the multifactor authentication, video authorisation, and other capabilities that modern facial recognition systems may now include to provide a more effective access control solution. Today homes are being safe-gaurded by facial recognition technology as well, in the future this can  also be combined with applications for the home to give remote residential access, announce front door arrivals.

Siri, Alexa, and Cortana are just a few examples of AI-powered personal assistants that can be paired with the technology making them a more viable replacement for the robotic iterations of today. Facial recognition also offers a solution in a digital environment where personally identifiable information (PII) is both highly valued and frequently insecure by safeguarding users’ identities whether navigating digital or physical locations. Face recognition remains with a person, boosting security and privacy, whereas passwords and other credentials are vulnerable to theft or misuse. Escalating cybersecurity issues show how crucial it is now more than ever to secure both offline and online areas. As a result, biometric authentication, particularly facial recognition, will be crucial in this security environment, as many professionals in the field believe.


Q7. What are the privacy concerns and threats FRT poses?

Every technological advancement will come with its own set of drawbacks, but with increased levels of advantages we tend to ignore them all. But being informed about the threats that it possesses helps us make smarter decisions in every aspect. If we discuss the identity theft of Facial Recognition System, risks of spoofing are much higher if monetary transactions are involved. Once large numbers of data is collected in the form of biometrics and stored in the cloud with third parties accessing it all without any authorization. Hackers breaking into personal and corporate data is almost a daily affair and since biometrics of a person cannot be changed, compromising on it becomes a hard affair.

Even though Facial recognition technology just needs your face to unlock a phone or any other connected device, there will soon be developments which can detect if it is an authentic attempt or not. Though it is already being applied via machine learning in Apple’s Face ID, things still seem to be on the dicier side for the time  being. Another very important thing that is important to point out is that it might eliminate the anonymity we take for granted in crowded areas and the majority of public locations. However, it is also extremely possible that this technology will be applied in the commercial sector more frequently in order to more precisely target consumers for advertising and unfair pricing.

It’s not impossible to imagine a situation in which you walk into a store and are treated differently or even see different prices based on the combination of your biometric data and personal information that is publicly available online as facial recognition technology improves and the number of consumers using social media keeps rising. Unwanted identification of people in sensitive situations, such as domestic violence victims, stalking victims, and law enforcement personnel, is another issue.

People might also feel that they’re being watched all the time with over-surveillance being a major problem all over the world in the name of public safety. This also threatens basic human rights and there are several different issues connected to identification. Firstly, it is possible to divide the idea of identification into two types of problems – recognition and verification. Identification is associated with establishing a person’s identity based on e.g. a preset of known identities whilst the challenge of accepting or denying an identity is connected to verification. One problem with new technologies and privacy issues regards the legal aspect and the (sometimes) lack of laws to cover new technology.


Q8. What role RecogX.AI is playing in upgradation of FRT and related technology?

AI is a cloud-native start-up with focus on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to optimise business processes and enable digital transformation. They specialise in decoding any form of communication. The API features face recognition, face identification, and face verification solutions. It uses computer vision and machine learning and helps to recognize faces in videos, photos, and real-time streams. It caters to industries including retail, banking, government, law enforcement, and transportation. They envision using Artificial Intelligence and transforming it into useful data enabling better business for organisations. They’re powered by deep learning models to increase recognition accuracy and improve data coherency across Image and Speech Analytics. RecogX.ai is successfully helping build analytics-driven solutions across vision, speech and conversational analytics to monetize data. Not only this, they also train the workforce and students in top IIMs, IIT’s on emerging AI technologies especially Facial Recognition Technology.

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