Facial Recognition: Safety or Privacy

The New York Times weighs in today with an article on technology which focuses on facial recognition. Dr. Joseph J. Atick, a pioneer the emerging technology talks about the problems he sees regarding everyone’s right to privacy and his concerns about how the technology can be used and misused.

There are a lot of very intelligent people who are making incredible advances in all areas of modern technology. A troublesome aspect is the speed with new technology outpaces our ability to foresee possible unintended consequences of the latest inventions and advancements. To add to the problem is the natural fact that those who are developing these advances often don’t have the best motivation or interest in protecting society from possible problems their work might create.

Not one to champion government regulations, I still feel it is already late in the game to be thinking about what this can mean.

…what troubles him is the potential exploitation of face recognition to identify ordinary and unwitting citizens as they go about their lives in public. Online, we are all tracked. But to Dr. Atick, the street remains a haven, and he frets that he may have abetted a technology that could upend the social order.       The New York Times

Just stop and think about what private business will be able to do with this type of technology. And for many companies, if they can do it, you can bet they will. If their customer likes it or not many companies lack fundamental scruples and will do what they think they can get away with to make an extra buck. There are so many ways this technology can be used that will violate an individual’s right to privacy there needs to be a lot of thought given to the issue. And it needs to be done now by each and every citizen. We really can’t leave it up to private businesses to police themselves. It would be foolish to expect government to be out in front of an issue. So please do Think. Then Think Again. about facial recognition and the emerging technologies.

More on the issue from the Journal of High Technology Law.

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