Question: Facial recognition technology is the future of policing. Inspite of this it is facing flak from civil society. Explain the benefits and issues involved and possible measures to mitigate.
Answer: The authorities have increasingly stressed the importance of facial recognition technology for stopping crime and track missing persons. But civil society considers it to be a twin edged sword that can be misused for state sponsored spying. This issue is still under debate.
Benefits of Facial recognition technology
- Non physical identification and tracking
The technology is very crucial if authorities have to track certain individuals involved in crime without their knowledge. Being a non contact method, where the authorities do not need to be physically present, this method can come in handy while preventing terrorism related activities.
- Reducing manpower
Since most of tracking and identification is performed by technology, the crucial manpower can be utilised for other benefits. This is highly important considering the number of available manpower for citizen protection.
The individuals involved in controlling the technology have to be answerable to a certain body so that it cannot be misused for the purposes other than the intended ones. The lack of answerability is thus the biggest challenge.
- Privacy concerns
The technology can be a tool in the hands of government which can be used to monitor activities of political opponents as well as opposers. This will put the privacy of citizens in great jeopardy as it can leak personal information.
Measures to address the concerns
- Limited purpose
The technology has to be used for limited purpose that concerns security of society as well as nation. The scope should not be expanded to include common citizens without any criminal connection.
- Stronger data secure
The data collected from citizens are stored in internal servers, which if vulnerable can leak the data to malicious individuals. This data can be misused to commit crimes, thus requiring absolute security.
Thus, facial recognition is indeed the future of technology if it addresses the genuine concern. There is a need for stronger legislation in order to keep it under check and prevent misuse.