Face Scanning


Image Recognition

Face scanners have many flaws, but they are improving to the extent that a very partial match is enough to make an ID

With Facebook, face scanning has become mainstream, and a bit scary.

Even if you are not on social media and image sharing sites yourself, your friends may be tagging pictures of you that go into databases. (Party Responsibly!)

What's new in Face Scanning? Face scanning technology has become more adept at identifying people in online photos, to the extent that Facebook now can identify people in pictures. Facial recognition technology has been around since the 1980s but has really taken off now that computers can process facial features against large databases of people. Las Vegas casinos, airports, ports of entry, and even businesses have been using facial recognition and face scanning software to securely identify people and compare them against lists of known threats. In the past, makeup, hats, facial hair, or other disguises may have allowed people to slip through the cracks of facial identification technology, and there are still a few cases where people can get around such scanning equipment. However, newer facial scanning software and technology can make a positive ID from several different partial (or full) features such as the distance between eyes, length of nose, shape of face, and 3D topographical features in order to notice the part of a face that is not somehow disguised. There is some thought that prosthetic noses or masks might be a way to cheat facial scanning, but for positive identification (like knowing that a particular person is OK) then facial scanning would be combined with retinal scans or other secondary biometric ways of seeing if a person is who they say they are. At some point, facial recognition and scanning may become part of ATM and banking transactions to deter fraud, either by making a positive ID of the account holder or noting that a know criminal is using a different identity.

Notes and Special Information

Special note: Consider the fact that your collection agent might be using face scanning technology to know where you like to hang out, and what you might be calling yourself. The same could be true for abusive ex-partners and stalkers so the privacy implications of face scanning and categorization are a bit scary.