Why we should ban facial recognition technology everywhere

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/10/20/2-out-of-3.html


He’ll yes - though @GulliverFoyle

has pointed out one exception that I can stomach:


Well, that’s probably just because you’re not a birb. Did you ever think how they feel about it?


please include banning it to open your phone - stupidest thing I ever saw.


Guess who’s dreaming of facial-recog body cams now? US border cops: AI tech sought to scrutinize travelers


These ads are playing all over the place lately in cable.


Facial recognition software is a great technology, and banning it is a bad idea.

We need to ban the uses of it that are bad. Ban the use of it to indiscriminately identify people, ban the use of it to track people, ban it’s use to advertise to people, ban it’s use to do anything but allow for people to be recognized at their request instead of typing in a number or other identification method. (And only for relatively low-risk transactions; like a loyalty card processing or a small purchase that the merchant understands may be challenged.)

Even post- process upon request facial recognition should be by request only; ie., a person who stands accused of something should be allowed to request a search for their face in various public feeds, in order to show they were somewhere else. The systems should be set up (under harsh penalty of law, even for the government itself) so that no faces other than the one being searched for are recorded. But this should be done only upon request.

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I like the idea in theory, but I don’t see how it could possibly be enforced. Organizations could be using facial recognition without anyone knowing, and given the huge benefits to the org in tracking people, I think it will be done anyway even if it is banned.


Junior minister says gov.UK considering facial recognition to verify age of p0rn-watchers

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O-face recognition software.


If you held up a photo of BoJo to the camera, would it think he was too immature?


How long until someone writes an app for your phone showing an adult face that you can point at the camera to fool the recognition system?

And why not go all the way? The face is not a perfect marker of sexual maturity. Make it a genital scan to show if you are old enough for porn. Then you can just feed the images back to the porn industry and get a truly circular economy.

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Meanwhile. Not sure if this is “epoch times” or “apocryphal times” or end of times or whatever.

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“to opt out, just don’t have a face”

Of course, not having a face (e.g. wearing a mask, covering your face) is highly suspicious and thus will cause you to be detained, if not actually illegal (which it mostly is).

As demonstrated by that facial recognition test in the UK:

“However, witnesses said several people were stopped after covering their faces or pulling up hoods.”

And the anti-mask laws in much of the US that will be repurposed for mandatory facial recognition.

But that requires you to already have a public camera system that covers all public areas with a facial recognition system in place. I.e. you’ve already implemented the bad system. Plus, the mere existence of such a system now means that one is in the position of having to prove one’s innocence. (“Innocent until proven guilty” is a nice idea, but in reality there are absolutely expectations that one will provide “exonerating evidence” if it’s known to exist. An absence of it is considered tantamount to a declaration of guilt.) If one has dark skin, it won’t reliably identify you, so I guess you must be guilty, as the system can’t verify your location.

Often we think we can only implement the “good” usages of a system, but the mere existence of the system tends to have inherent impacts. We can only choose not to implement the system at all.


gotta wonder how accurate the technology is. it’s one thing to use it to scan public places and get some false positives, another to try to uniquely identify every human

haircuts, facelifts, piercings, scars from accidents, aging, twins, even just poorly written software

even dna testing can have its issues, and that’s way more reliable than face recognition

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This seems like a monumentally bad idea. Banning many legitimate uses, impossible to enforce or monitor, and fails to address many of the real privacy issues.

If you want to stop someone using facial recognition you need to stop them from using cameras. Focus on the surveillance, not what is done with the footage after the fact. Restricting how the government can access video footage they collect does seem like a reasonable plan and restrictions on facial recognition could certainly be part of that. But a general ban on the technology? Stupid and pointless.

Because nothing says it’s totally safe like a young non afro woman of color smiling next to an old white guy.

Fuck all of it. Biometrics can only be changed by being permanently scarred by acid. And they can be copied easily by anyone who wants to lift fingerprints, cut out your eyes, or skin your face.

Sorry but I prefer having my security compromised by somebody robbing me for my keys not cutting my face off

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Really? Why’s that, then? It works superbly well on my new iPhone, far quicker and more accurate that the fingerprint recognition on my old iP6+, which would fail if my fingers were anything but perfectly dry, forcing me to have to use the passcode, and also made payments using the phone hit or miss, so I just went back to using my bank card.
The new phone detects my face virtually every time I pick it up or take it out of my pocket and unlocks it, and over the last three weeks payments have failed on the first attempt exactly twice.
It’s like voodoo, which is maybe why you’re scared of it, technology that’s so close to magic it must be the work of Satan!
To be fair, though, the Face ID system used on the Pixel 4 is so poor it’ll work even when the owner is asleep, unconscious or dead, a gift to malign government agencies, which is why several actions have failed with my phone, it couldn’t detect that my eyes were open and I was aware.
And the Touch ID on one of Samsung’s new phones will work for anyone if a clear screen protector is applied, another massive fail.

Quicker isn’t safer.

You can probably disable the screen lock completely if you want instant-fast.