Everyone seems to want to talk about the dangers of facial recognition technology. While that is going on, though, such talks will not do much for you. Unless you know how to protect yourself in the meantime, that is.
If the latter sounds like something you are interested in, this is the piece for you. Let’s talk about some of the dangers that this tech can provide, in line with how you can make them go away.
Dangers of Facial Recognition and How to Protect yourself
1 – Social Media Privacy
It is quite unfortunate that social media is one place we don’t look when talking about facial recognition systems.
Platforms like Facebook have grown to the stage where they can now pick out the faces in a picture that you upload. With every upload to their platform, you are merely strengthening their facial recognition model.
In the same way, you are also bolstering their efforts when you agree to help them identify more faces in your pictures. Even though you might have given them consent, what about those other people?
Ho to protect yourself: There is no telling how Facebook uses your facial data. After the Cambridge Analytica scandal, we have seen how seemingly harmless data can be collected and misused by the company.
The best thing to do here would be to stop uploading pictures to the website if you can. Fortunately, you can also opt-out of the facial recognition system on Facebook – and that should be possible on other platforms too.
See Also: How to stay safe on social media
2 – Offline Privacy
There is a lot of awareness around online privacy today, and the world is starting to catch on fast.
Password habits are not topnotch yet, but they are improving. We have also learned to download a VPN app for our devices to prevent the government and agencies from spying on us online. However, how do we make this happen when we step out of our homes?
Countries like China have adopted facial recognition systems so much that cameras can be found on almost every street corner. The same is true for some states and jurisdictions too.
Here, it seems like there is nothing you can do to stay private and anonymous. Not because you are doing something illegal too, but because you would like to live your life without worrying about being followed every step of the way.
How to Protect yourself: There is no one-size-fits-all solution here, but there are a couple of things you can do.
Today, there are privacy glasses that you can wear to distort what the facial recognition cameras see. That makes it impossible for them to pick up your face. Some people have resorted to wearing clothes with faces (sometimes numerous), which confuses the algorithm. Face masks will also help do the same thing. Even though these are less-than-comfortable solutions, they are what we have to deal with for now.
3 – Consent
Perhaps one of the biggest problems with facial recognition today is consent.
After all, how do you collect sensitive data (such as the digital faces of people) without asking them if they are okay with that first?
We have facial recognition systems on most phones and some desktop/ laptop computers today. Their mode of operation is such that they request your consent before they are engaged at all. Step onto that street, stare at that camera, and your face has instantly been recorded.
This is less than ideal – even more so that it is happening in supposedly democratic societies.
How to protect yourself: This is one problem that is way beyond us. The best we can do, as a people, is to push for the legislature to put some regulations around how this data is being collected. If the consent of the people cannot be obtained, it is better off not having facial recognition systems around then