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Your face as big data

Facial_recognitionI wrote this back in early March, just before the world went all topsy-turvy. I'm curious whether anyone feels differently now about facial recognition use by governments than they might have before the pandemic and recent protests.

How would you feel if...

Welcome to the wonderful world of facial recognition. Hello convenience... goodbye privacy!

The New York Times ran an article back in March about a company in the facial recognition software business, and after reading more about this technology I am both fascinated and terrified by the possibilities for its use! This is one of those topics that can't be easily summarized in a short TechBits post but absolutely should be something on public libraries' (and private citizens') radar. If you have a couple of minutes, this Center for the Future of Libraries webpage about facial recognition is a nice overview.  

According to a Pew Research Center study, a majority of Americans (56%) trust law enforcement agencies to use facial recognition technologies responsibly and (59%) think it is acceptable for them to use these tools to assess security threats in public spaces. However, Americans have much less confidence in technology companies or advertisers to use the technology responsibly. Currently, laws governing how this new technology is used are all over the map. A couple of the big concerns with facial recognition are privacy (can a user "opt out"?) and accuracy (facial recognition has been less accurate for anyone not male or white).

Some additional library-focused articles about facial recognition:

What questions do you have about facial recognition software and libraries?
The ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee’s has formed a Facial Recognition Working Group and is compiling a Q&A on the use of facial recognition software in libraries. It should be interesting to read more about this topic when their best practices and guidelines are published.


* shaming you for, say, wearing your pajamas outside ----  or, on the more sinister side, blocking your ability to travel or putting you in a reeducation camp.


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