Facial recognition technology is the next aspect of biometric authentication to hit the mainstream. It’s now present on the iPhone X and a few Android phones, and we can expect the vast majority of smartphones to have it over the next few years. As convenient as it may be, it doesn’t come without potential data privacy pitfalls.
3 Possible Drawbacks of Facial Recognition Technology
1. Not that Hard to Crack
While your face is unique enough for your family and friends to recognize it in a crowded place, it’s not impossible for hackers to replicate it.
In fact, researchers at Fudan University in China created a baseball cap that can crack just about any facial recognition software by projecting infrared lights onto the wearer’s face into “strategic spots.” The facial scanner then picks up these spots, altering the way it reads the wearer’s face and grants access.
2. Data Privacy Concerns
Facial recognition technology raises numerous privacy concerns. Where is your face data stored? Who can access it? Will it be sold to third parties?
And, given the latest privacy scandal with Facebook’s sketchy use of user data, it’s not safe to assume that any technology company should just be trusted with your face data.
Think about how virtual assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Home constantly record what you say. That may make you a bit uneasy. A smartphone that’s constantly recording your face could be equally discomforting.
3. Advertising Tracking
Security experts have wondered whether or not marketers will begin using facial recognition technology to gauge user interest in mobile advertisements. While Apple’s Developer Policy restricts marketers from using Face ID, it’s possible that other tech giants will allow it.
This could potentially change the way we express ourselves physically, in the opinion of some experts. As we grow used to facial recognition advertising, we may essentially begin to rely on our cameras to make decisions for us, argues Aram Sinnreich, a professor at American University.
Again, we aren’t claiming that using facial recognition technology is a bad idea. Just remember that it’s not exactly a substitute for a strong password, and that you should always be aware of the privacy and security concerns it raises.
Note: the purpose of this blog is not to deter you from ever using facial recognition software, but to draw awareness to the fact that it is not 100 percent secure.