Face masks have been challenging some facial recognition technology, but technology may win this battle soon. Facial recognition technology could soon not only be a security device for certain businesses but also detect if people aren’t wearing masks to measure compliance. Some people aren’t happy about these changes.
Facial Recognition Technology
The battle started before the pandemic. Facial recognition systems compared measurements between facial features in two different images. The problem is that a mask often covers the bottom half of the face. This means the technology was only picking up on half of your face. Numerous companies are working to change these measures to focus on different identifying areas of the face.
This type of technology has been showing up in many different areas of the world. It’s at airport check-in lines, retail stores and even the police department. It’s starting to take over in businesses as they look for ways to use security without contact. The facial recognition on many people’s smart phones was just the start to this trend taking over. The bigger problem is that some people don’t welcome it.
Many people worry this type of technology infringes on their privacy. There are no federal laws that govern data privacy. This means the country relies on regulations in specific sectors to guard this privacy. Entities and corporations do not have to tell anyone what is happening to their data. Other people do not trust facial recognition as a whole. It isn’t perfect. The training is dominated by light-skinned people. Researchers have found that the algorithms used to recognize faces with a better ethnic and racial balance was less than 70 percent accurate when identifying new faces.
Passing Privacy Issues
Facial recognition developers have an answer to the critics. They say this software bypasses privacy issues because the programs aren’t identifying the people. The programs are identifying images. The software uses one image to teach the algorithm how to detect a face. It uses the other image to figure out how to recognize a mask on a face. It does not link the face to a person. Even when used in a big corporation, the technology is letting the “face” have access instead of the “person.”
Masks don’t seem to be going anywhere soon. With rising levels of air pollution and the pandemic, wearing masks is going to be normal. This means facial recognition technology will have to figure out a perfect way to work with the masks. Detection will need to focus more on the eyes, hairline and eyebrows.