Ugly Reality or Seamless Society?

In a world driven by technological advances, it isn’t surprising that we’ve arrived in the era where facial recognition plays a part in our everyday lives.

It may not be something that you are acutely aware of, but photographs are being taken of you wherever you go. Facial recognition may even be the first thing you interact with in the morning.

Wake up, stretch, unlock your iPhone X with your face. It’s part of our daily routines now to ensure that we’re living in a frictionless society.

So why not use your face to unlock your car?

Pay for your coffee on the daily commute to work?

Open your hotel room to avoid lengthy check-in queues?

If you can use your thumb to pay via Apple Pay, why not use your face via FacePay? Our desire to live seamlessly and as autonomously as possible is becoming a reality; so why is facial recognition met with so much backlash? 

Facial recognition has the potential to become quite an ethical minefield. With the overhaul of GDPR regulation still fresh in our minds, FR and AI is a bit of a touchy subject.

Facial recognition works by collecting and storing data, to recognise and remember the faces that it has ‘met’. Because of this, it’s important that users have given their consent for their data to be used in order to enhance their user experience. 

Obtaining this consent is where things start to get a bit tricky. Many people who aren’t willing to give their permission to collect their data fall into the category of those who fear a dystopian, Big Brother like world, painting facial recognition as the start of a very ugly reality.

While there may be a small element of truth in this when discussing mass-surveillance FR, the aim behind FR technology in the present is to create ease for users, not to control their lives. 

TouchByte combats this privacy and data concern by using a simple one-way system for data collection. Think of it as a flow chart; beginning with a recognition of a face. This face is then converted to some rather complicated data, called a biometric, which is essentially a specially crafted piece of data.

The original image is then deleted, and the biometric data is what is used to identify a face. Because of this, TouchByte only ever stores images for a second or two, before it is transformed into a biometric, and then deleted.

This essentially sidesteps the whole issue surrounding data protection – as the data that TouchByte keeps, isn’t legible – it’s simply code.  

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