Facial Recognition: Is It Invading Your Privacy?

Facial Recognition: Is It Invading Your Privacy?

(delicate tone) (upbeat music) – Let me get a – [Robot Voice] Order
confirmed, citizen number five, extra pickles, medium fries. Thank you for your order. – But I never told you
what I wanted to order. – [Robot Voice] Order
confirmed, thank you citizen. Next in line please. (upbeat music) (chuckles) – Is it just me, or
does facial recognition seem to be creeping more and
more into our daily lives? I mean, my face is pretty much
being scanned on the regular. Sometimes it’s my choice. Like when I used a Snapchat filter, they rely on facial
recognition technology. And I don’t seem to mind
because, well they’re awesome. Facebook’s auto-tagging makes uploading my photos super easy. And instead of remembering a passcode, the new iPhone X uses
your face to unlock it. Oh and by the way, there actually is a KFC restaurant in China
that scans your face and orders your food for you, so look out for that, I
guess to become a thing. But for the most part the media focuses on the darker aspects of the technology. – Nearly half of American adults are in facial recognition databases. – The technology can single us out in real time as we go
about our daily business. – It’s mass surveillance
for the physical world. – So that got me thinking, should we smile and
welcome facial recognition? Or should we be worried that it’s gonna be a major invasion of our privacy? Here’s how facial recognition works. Computers map your face by
analyzing dozens of different facial landmarks, like the
depth of your eye sockets, the curve of your chin,
and the size of your nose. Computers use artificial
intelligence to analyze all this data. Basically, you have to train the computers on thousands of photos before they can accurately start identifying
people by creating faceprints. Which are kinda like fingerprints in that they’re unique to each person. Now there’s a growing concern
that facial recognition will be used by governments
and law enforcement to monitor and track people. Now if we’re talking
about catching terrorists or identifying criminals, the technology might be a great
tool to help keep us safe. But this same technology can also be used on us law abiding citizens. In the U.S., there are an estimated 60 million surveillance cameras, meaning there’s a pretty
good chance that our faces are being recorded every day. So theoretically, if the FBI, CIA, or NSA had access to that footage,
they can track the movements of any person 24/7. They’d know where you
work, where you shop, who you like to hang with. Like I don’t want the government to know that I like to get my acupuncture done at 7:30 in the morning on a Tuesday. Now this may sound futuristic and sci-fi, but the governments are
using facial recognition right now. In some U.S. airports,
border agents are scanning the faces of foreign visitors
and matching those scans to their visa applications. It could be a more secure
way to track when people enter and leave the country. The government is also
partnering with some airlines to use facial recognition
instead of boarding passes. For U.S. citizens, the facial
scans are checked against photos stored in police databases. Now you may be thinking,
“I’ve never committed a crime, “my face isn’t gonna be
in a police database.” Well police and the FBI
have scanned millions of faces using drivers
licenses and passport photos. A recent report out of
Georgetown University reveals that if you’re
an adult in the U.S., there’s a 50-50 chance that your photo is stored in a massive
facial recognition database that law enforcement can
access anytime it wants for pretty much any reason. You know the classic police
lineup we see in the movies? The detective invites the
witness down to the station to pick out the criminal who’s standing in the line with a bunch of other people? These photo databases are
basically digital police lineups, allowing law enforcement
to compare one face to millions of others. Check out what’s happening
in Moscow, Russia’s capital. The government is adding
facial recognition technology to its network of 170,000
surveillance cameras located throughout the city. It’s supposed to be used
to identify criminals and boost security, but what if you’re at a rally protesting the government? The police could use facial recognition to pick you out of a crowd, and maybe even punish
you for your actions. And covering your face
might not protect you. A new research paper demonstrated
that facial recognition could correctly identify a
concealed face 67% of the time. Yikes. In China, the government takes facial recognition to the next level. To curb jaywalking, which
apparently is a big problem in the country, the Chinese
government has resorted to public shaming. Jaywalkers get their photo snapped by government-owned cameras,
and then 20 minutes later, their picture is up on a giant screen with their ID number and home address. Again, yikes. Now facial recognition
is not just about safety or tracking down criminals,
it’s also about making money. When you and your friends are auto-tagged when you upload a photo
to Google or Facebook, that’s one more data point
that companies can use to track what you do online, what you like, and what you buy. But that’s the cost of free technology. It’s right there in the terms of service that none of us ever read. We use a super useful tool at no cost, the tech companies mine every photo, status update, and tweet for info that online advertisers are
willing to pay big money for. Facebook and Google alone are predicted to make $106 billion from
advertising this year. That’s nearly half of all the money made from digital advertising in the world. Big box retailers are
getting into the game too. Walmart has filed a patent
for facial recognition technology that can identify when shoppers are unhappy or frustrated. Which the company says will allow it to provide better customer service. But that same data can also
be used to track purchases and predict what items you
might buy in the future. So now we’d like to hear from you. Where would you draw the line? In what situation would you be comfortable allowing facial recognition? Whenever? Law enforcement only? Just private companies? Or pretty much never? Let us know in the comments below. And do not forget to subscribe. And if you wanna learn more about technology and privacy, check out this episode
we did on cyber security to learn how to keep all
your digital info safe. Till next time guys. (upbeat music)

About the Author: Earl Hamill


  1. This isn’t an invasion of privacy…the only time someone has access to your face is when you’re in public which is inherently non private and the only other situation where you would get recognized would be if you use programs and by doing so you’re giving permission to do so by using it. Soooo no no it’s not an invasion…you’re the one allowing it so grow up and learn the consequences of your actions

  2. As someone who grew up in a small town… The level of privacy we expect in the modern world is abnormal. A freak data point caused by unprecedented urbanization. For thousands of years we've lived in the view of people who will bring up past actions again and again, for worse OR for better.

    Of course, now we're used to being able to go to the city and do whatever we want with no social consequences. It will take time for us to get used to it.

  3. I think this is just the cost of technology. The only thing that worries me is the general populace using this information to hurt you. Doxxing is a scary thing, and I imagine if someone wanted to hurt you, it can’t be too hard to hack into a camera with facial recognition abilities to track down where you’ve been so they can plot whatever twisted thing they have in mind. I’d imagine this would be frightening for celebrity type folk, or people who have someone on their bad side. YouTube celebrities in particular come to mind that could be affected by something like this. I guess as long as this data is secure and isn’t easy to get into maliciously, it shouldn’t be that bad…

  4. 2:20 The issue with this argumentation is you're vastly overestimating your worth as a human being. You make the argument as if you and you specifically are being intently monitored, but in a mass surveillance system, are an almost worthless data point, only as useful as any other data point, of which there are literally hundreds of millions. The system doesn't give a shit about you specifically, an AI is only using you and everyone else as a means to compare against outliers. Outliers are flagged by the system for manual surveillance, and they are the only ones actually watched.
    It's dishonest to make arguments both for or against mass surveillance without dropping this invalid assumption of an individual's personal value.

  5. Well, here where I live (Argentina) this technology is taken from sci-fi. But I think this could be great for ID cards or paying with credit card, you only have to scan your face to paid and it will difficult to steal your money. But more technology we have to be closer, more the companies and power people know about us, and they could use it for their approach.

  6. I think facial recognition is great! The government SHOULD use it and does use it. And if the government can have it we should be allowed to have it too. On the other hand, as a security tool, a face recognition lock is quite insecure, I've sat down at a computer and had it log me into someone else's account because it thought I was that person from my face. R.I.P. iPhone X users.

  7. I am for having laws which allow facial recognition to be used by police for criminal investigation purposes only after the fact to look at stored data. I do not want companies to have the technology to use for targeted advertising. And as for Walmart telling whether their customers are frustrated, they don't need facial recognition. IF they're at Walmart they're frustrated.

  8. Guess what, guys? It's almost the one-year anniversary of PBS's science report on the magic Greek water machine! In case you don't know what I'm talking about, here's the segment:

    Yep. PBS isn't any different from any other news network. They have their own times of incompetence and bias, which is why the idea that they're somehow "above the noise" is about as real as a perpetual motion machine.

  9. We already have millions of facial recognition machines with millions of cameras on them… human people with smartphone cameras and reverse image search engines with a multitude of comparitive photos on facebook/twitter/instagram ect… these are just less efficient and require people. why not automate it to catch terrorists and pedophiles and such? Sounds like the logical next step to the system and why would people think their privacy is beinmg invaded? dont go outside where the cameras are if thats how you feel… who cares if someone can know your name from your face.

  10. Facial recognition is another overrated way for fascist-loving opportunists to scapegoat people for their own benefit. Criminals will always find a way to spread their filth. Fucking assholes

  11. "…and don't forget to subscribe," which I totally did. Great content. But it's worth pointing out that this is another data point that's used to inform the advertisements we see. I'd venture to guess that my YouTube account (liked videos, subscriptions, etc) probably has a similar value to advertisers.

  12. since i live in a democratic country where it isn't illegal to rally or protest i am not as worried about the government having facial recognition software, though i can see how that could go very very wrong. I am VERY worried about businesses having this technology, however. businesses already use loads of psychological tricks to convince you to buy something whether or not you really would have wanted to without such advertisements. to be able to further personalize this means they have one extra tool for bypassing whatever defense you may have for being manipulated.

  13. maybe if there wasnt capitalism but as long as it is profitable, anything even personal data and human beings, will be a commodity

  14. You are very informative democratic, and neutral…. What I would say…. Facial recognition.. Airports… Shoplifting,

  15. Off grid living seems more desirable now.
    No privacy anymore!
    Big Brother is watching everything you.
    Well it’s time to buy large areas of land and start no camera zones of grid living!!

  16. The issue of privacy is becoming a key issue in India. Here a case is going on in the Supreme Court of India regarding the linking of identity cards with sim cards, bank accounts etc. These cards have a QR code with the biometrics of every citizen. Linking of this card to bank accounts and sim card would mean that private firms have access to our biometrics.

  17. Countries are run by corrupt politicians and they'll always want to remain one step ahead of their master- the public. These cynical warmongering pseudointellectuals will leave no stone unturned in identifying the so called 'mischievous' elements from recognising these loopholes in our system and catch them before its too late. Another application would be to eliminate all the blind spots in a country to catch and deport all three illegal immigrants from the western hemisphere even though the majority of them came to a particular country for better future eons ago and conveniently forgets.

  18. I think the fact that Google is going to start using its data collection to create AI for military purposes answers all the questions one might have.

  19. It's not the tech that's scary, it's how it's applied. Snapchat filters are really benign, police databases of faces are much less invasive and easier to collect than fingerprints, and tbh I kinda wanna try a restaurant that can read my face and determine what I want before I can, it sounds super convenient.

  20. Whatever you allow will be in the hands of hackers in no time, then not too long after one will make a tool that will have idiots able to do it. Then a while later it will be taken over by someone evil that will weaponize it and you will be bowing down to some corporation with a huge tech budget and your "mined" data. Have fun with that.

  21. Walmart doesn’t need facial recognition technology. If you’re shopping at Walmart, then you’re already in a bad mood.

  22. Firstly I can't go along with your lackadaisical approach to Private Invasion.  Yes some people are making good money Off Of Other People's Private Business That No One Gave Them Permission To Use.  Right now It's No Big Deal BUT WHEN SOMEONE HACKS THAT SYSTEM AND YOUR FACE IS NOW INVOLVED IN A CRIME YOU DIDN'T COMMIT I'M SURE THIS UNAUTHORIZED PRYING INTO PEOPLE'S LIVES WON'T SEEM SO CARE FREE THEN.

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