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2 min read

Facial Recognition for Video Surveillance and Access Control - A Slippery Slope or Ideal Solution?

A recent article in Forbes talked about how Israeli software was being used for facial recognition at country borders, and is now being used in US casinos. Well, of course we immediately started thinking about our clients and partners and whether this type of solution should be used at all.

Let's take a look at some pros and cons for using this technology...

A few general concerns to consider:

  • Ubiquitous access control can lead to blanket surveillance. Smart cities may remove privacy entirely.
  • Who is housing the data? A foreign biometrics company is housing biometrics data of Americans on American soil. (Check out this link to our previous post and the permanence of biometric data)
  • The facial recognition host wields all the power to put someone on a watch list, or worse, in prison.
  • National, state, and local restrictions on the use of facial recognition may be in place already - See articles about California, New York, and there are certainly other locations and applications where this technology is questionable or illegal to implement.

A few general positives to consider:

  • It can be the first line of defense to help officers/guards take the next step in an organization's procedures of removing a threat, whether that be an arrest or removal from a site.  You cannot hang your hat on facial recognition, it must be verified using multiple other factors, i.e. guard/officer approach the person asking for ID, dual authentication (fingerprint, credential, etc.), monitor the person flagged by using the video management system, etc.
  • Facial recognition is effective, efficient, accurate, and ever improving. Unfortunately, so are potential adversaries.
  • The ‘bugs’ are being removed and parameters can be set to avoid pitfalls, such as 98% accuracy for positive ID (+ or – depending on risk appetite)
    • Disproportionate number of specific nationalities or origins being identified
    • Minority individuals may be falsely accused
  • The state and federal legislators will need to iron out the legality of use. That pertains to both implementing facial recognition and using it as evidence. See articles about California, New York, and there are certainly other locations and applications where this technology is questionable or illegal to implement.
  • This may be a situation like the polygraph technology where it is admitted as fact for a while, then is deemed in-admissible.

In the end, most of the concerns are for the public sector and the legal system. As for private businesses and corporations – the proof of efficacy is apparent for facial recognition.

Choose Theseus, a security engineering and design firm that understands your unique needs. Not all facial recognition software and systems are created equally. Allow us to help you protect what is yours by providing bespoke security solutions for your organization.

Contact us to discuss your security challenges >>

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