Facial recognition: more risks than benefits?

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Paradox in the digital world: San Francisco, a temple of technological innovation, became the first American city to ban the use of facial recognition tools by the police and other local government agencies. It is because several concerns have been raised regarding the protection of privacy and respect for civil liberties. In addition, according to several groups, the risks associated with this technology are too great in relation to the benefits that could be derived from it. A look at a technology with major ethical implications.

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Paradox in the digital world: San Francisco, a temple of technological innovation, became the first American city to ban the use of facial recognition tools by the police and other local government agencies. It is because several concerns have been raised regarding the protection of privacy and respect for civil liberties. In addition, according to several groups, the risks associated with this technology are too great in relation to the benefits that could be derived from it. Several failures have been put forward concerning, in particular, women and people of color:

“A pilot project carried out at a music festival last year identified 12 suspects among 40,000 faces… except that only two were really on the suspect list. "

Source: Agence Science-Presse, May 17, 2019

The use of facial recognition in China is currently very questionable. For example, pedestrians can be fined if they did not cross the street in the right place. And even worse, in this same country, facial recognition would be used for racial profiling.

"The American daily The New York Times recently reported that Chinese authorities are using this technology to track members of the Uighur Muslim minority. The system is programmed to search only for people with physical characteristics characteristic of members of this minority. "

Source: Radio-Canada, May 15, 2019

On the more positive side, big companies like Apple (to unlock the iPhone), Facebook (to automatically identify us on photos or videos) and JetBlue (to speed up boarding at the airport) are using recognition. facial in order to make life easier for users and make the customer experience more enjoyable.

In short, a majority agree on the fact that facial recognition is not yet developed at the present time, but that, put in good hands and well regulated, this technology could become an interesting asset, among other things in cases of missing children. or to combat sex trafficking.

“This technology will improve and could prove to be a useful tool for public safety if used responsibly and with the utmost care. "

Source: Radio-Canada, May 15, 2019

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