An industry watchdog called the ICO “very worried” about live face recognition

The Information Commissioner for the United Kingdom has expressed “serious worry” over the possibility that live face recognition (LFR) could be used “inappropriately, excessively, or even carelessly.” Elizabeth Denham expressed concern about the potential outcomes should it be used with big data and other forms of social media. According to what she stated, there is a “high bar” for LFR in places where “we buy, socialise, or assemble.”

In addition, fresh direction for businesses and government agencies that make use of the technology has been written and distributed. Ms. Denham discussed the usage of live face recognition in a post that she published on her blog. In the post, she said that facial recognition technology might be advantageous, as it could enable us to unlock our mobile phones or set up an online bank account.

However, the hazards to individuals’ privacy rose when their faces were scanned and analysed by algorithms in real time and in public settings. “We should be able to take our children to a leisure complex, visit a shopping centre, or tour a city to see the sights without having our biometric data collected and analysed with every step we take,” she wrote in her article. “We should be able to do all of these things without having our data collected and analysed with every step we take.”

Either it may develop quick profiles of people to be used in presenting personalised advertisements or it might match the faces of buyers against watch-lists of known shoplifters. Either way, the technology has the potential to revolutionise the retail industry. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) disclosed in a separate Commissioner’s Opinion that it was aware of potential plans to implement live facial recognition on billboards.

For the purpose of providing more relevant material, advertisements displayed in public places may be able to determine a person’s level of engagement, as well as their age, race, gender, and even the brands and styles of their apparel. Billboards may even be able to memorise people’s faces, enabling businesses to track the movements of individuals across multiple locations.

Taking steps

In addition to this, businesses had a responsibility to be mindful of the potential for discrimination to occur inside facial recognition technologies as well as the consequences of incorrect identification. The Commissioner’s Opinion establishes criteria for the use of live face recognition by businesses and public bodies; the use of live facial recognition by law enforcement was addressed in an earlier document.

According to the newly released judgement, the ICO conducted six separate investigations into LFR systems, and none of those systems were entirely compliant with data protection law when they were put into operation. Every single organisation made the decision to either halt their use of the technology or not continue with it.


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