Year in Review: Reflecting on the Good and Bad of Facial Recognition’s Big Year

Year in Review: Reflecting on the Good and Bad of Facial Recognition's Big YearFacial recognition technology has had a big year, in good ways and bad.

On the positive side, Apple signaled a more or less definitive switch to 3D facial recognition as the primary mechanism for user authentication on its flagship smartphones: Having made a big splash last year with its introduction of Face ID on the iPhone X, Apple proceeded to deliver Face ID to all of its 2018 iPhone models – and to remove the home button and its Touch ID fingerprint scanning system.

All this activity has spurred many others in the mobile industry to follow suit, incorporating facial recognition systems into their own devices; and it has probably helped desktop-based facial recognition systems such as Windows Hello to gain traction as more consumers have become familiar and comfortable with facial recognition authentication.


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On the other hand, facial recognition has been the cause of controversy. While many travelers have appreciated the emergence of face-scanning border control systems at US airports, the same technology has come under criticism from civil rights and privacy groups like the ACLU. Meanwhile, the use of facial recognition technology for public surveillance has caused an uproar for Amazon, which saw shareholders and even its own employees protest its sale of the technology to police agencies in the US. And this has pushed prominent AI industry actors to call for strong government regulation in this area, with a prominent new paper and Microsoft’s President having made such a case this week.

As per the proverb, the facial recognition industry is facing ‘interesting times’. And for good or ill, there’s a strong case to be made for this technology being the most exciting modality of 2018 – indeed, you can help to make the case, or to help make a case against it, through FindBiometrics’ Year in Review survey. It’s the premier forum for gauging the industry at the year’s end; and with facial recognition technology still kicking up so much dust, this is the perfect time to reflect on where it stands in the bigger picture, and to make your voice heard.

(Originally posted on FindBiometrics)