Facial recognition becomes privacy nightmare

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Facial recognition becomes privacy nightmare

Alex Fierro, '18, Staff Reporter

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The iPhone X is on sale now and people have lined up for days to be the first to get their hands on it.

Apple announced in September that its newest phone, the ten-year anniversary iPhone X, will unlock using facial recognition and many people are panicking about it.

What does it mean for the world if facial recognition software gets really good? Computers can already reveal many secrets; our banking information, our shopping habits, our medical history.

To understand why facial recognition is so scary, it’s helpful to know the technology that makes it possible.

There are actually two parts to the technology. The first is computers’ ability to recognize faces. Although the techniques are not perfect, it’s now possible for computers to use faces as a one of a kind identifier, and find other matches on the internet.

The other part is the speed at which computers can find a match. Some face recognition apps can go through millions of photos in a social network, and show matches in seconds. So can Facebook and Google. That’s how those companies are able to ask, Iis this John?” (or whomever) when you upload a picture.

So why is this so bad? The problem is that the technology is escaping the control of any gate-keepers, and now more and more people are using it. Online images are turning into a way to spy on us in the real world. If this keeps up, anyone will be able stand outside a mosque or an AIDS clinic, and use their phone to identify people going in and out.

“I actually think there is something to be worried about.  I haven’t realized how much of an issue this can actually become,” said Brian Kieca, 18′.

It’s time for a U.S. lawmakers to get a handle on this. Otherwise, our faces could unlock a surveillance state more controlling than anything we have experienced before.

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