Major cities take a step to ban facial recognition surveillance citing privacy concerns

Equipping our homes and businesses with the latest security surveillance systems is very important to many of us. We use cameras with sophisticated wireless systems and other high-tech features to secure our property. However, as technology advances, many of these new systems have the potential to invade our privacy.

Companies, such as Apple and Samsung have incorporated biometric security technology (facial recognition) into their phones. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word biometrics as “the measurement and analysis of unique physical or behavioral characteristics (as fingerprint or voice patterns) especially as a means of verifying personal identity.” Though this type of authentication can offer quick and easy access and be an effective measure of security, some people feel that these companies need to be careful to not infringe on privacy or expose sensitive information.

According to Security Today, consumers are concerned about their web activities being tracked and having their information sold to advertisers. But, there are also other probing issues for concern:

“At the same time, the public is worried about how different types of technologies are tracking them offline. Facial recognition technology, powered by artificial intelligence to match images against various databases, has become particularly controversial. While consumers are fine with some implementations of facial recognition technology, such as unlocking their smartphone or tagging their friends in photo albums, the bigger concern is how it could be used for surveillance.”

Many argue that the data collected through biometrics authentication can reveal too much information, that if gets out, could potentially get into the wrong hands. Then there are others who say this detailed surveillance could be beneficial in other areas, such as fighting crime. Both parties in Congress have expressed concern over the privacy issues with biometric surveillance. This past May, San Francisco banned facial recognition technology, and recently, New York City is considering regulating the technology making its use more transparent.

The article also introduces an alternative, lidar technology, which offers anonymized security by using lasers to calculate the distances between itself and objects.

“Compared to current technologies where everyone’s biometric data is captured and stored, regardless of whether they are involved in a security incident, lidar is a considerable step forward for anonymized surveillance.”

While a bit controversial, biometric surveillance is evidence of technology’s advancement. It seems like the trend of being “smart” can be seen everywhere these days. Smart security systems use biometric technology, such as fingerprint recognition, motion detectors and other sensors to enable customers to control their home or businesses from an app. There are many advantages to having these features at your fingertips, while protecting the people and things you love. As technology continues to advance, privacy concerns and issues will surely be tackled and improved to enhance safety.

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