Apocalypse? Too much, too soon? Yeah, maybe that’s a little over the top but once you see what is going on elsewhere on planet earth you may see the dangers lying ahead– maybe not with iPhone and Face ID itself (Apple seems to want to do the right thing with privacy and security) but with facial recognition.
Here’s Andrew Barclay’s headline.
Wanted man caught at concert thanks to facial recognition
Uh oh. Anybody see a problem brewing in the facial recognition industry?
He thought he was just another face in the crowd. That was what a Chinese man told police when he was arrested at a music concert in China thanks to facial recognition technology.
There were about 50,000 people at the concert, so the facial recognition software had to search through plenty of faces before zeroing in on the one face authorities wanted.
Big Brother, indeed.
That brings me to Face ID. Think of it as facial recognition, Apple style. Yes, the security it provides can be broken but it isn’t a trivial exercise unless you’re an identical twin. Apple makes opening your iPhone X simple and easy because the sensors scan your face, recognize you are who you are, and let you in or keep you out of the phone as needed.
China is a big, big country; the world’s most populous. Facial recognition is a technology that helps authorities track people, find people, and, as often is the case in authoritarian countries, make them disappear.
At a railway station in the central Chinese city of Zhengzhou, police have been equipped with “smart glasses” to locate faces matching their criminal database — with officials claiming the technology has helped catch human trafficking suspects.
Granted, these are bad guys that are being tracked and captured, but the trend goes beyond the criminal– unless you consider jaywalkers to be criminals. In China, jaywalkers get scolded on WeChat, thanks to face recognition, and then shamed in public on giant video displays. From high crimes to misdemeanors.
What’s next? Facial recognition that can read your thoughts and emotions from a camera? That isn’t too far from Minority Report.
PreCrime, a specialized police department, apprehends criminals based on foreknowledge provided by three psychics called “precogs”.
The Chinese government can scan, track, and capture suspects in a very crowded nation. Yet, I use facial recognition every day to check weather, sports scores, text messages, and run a variety of apps– to the point of online purchases– thanks to Face ID. It’s that good. It’s getting better.
So, where are all the anti-facial recognition tools we can apply to our faces as makeup to prevent Big Brother from knowing who they are watching?