Prep For That

Author: Jim Satney

PrepForThat’s Editor and lead writer for political, survival, and weather categories.

Countries around the world, including the United States, are in the midst of a facial recognition technology race. The closer that our world gets to sustainable, impactful facial recognition, the more privacy the general public loses. We’ve already seen evidence of how nefarious facial recognition technology can become. Just take Hong Kong’s recent protests, as an example of how such “innovation” can cater to authoritarian regimes.

While you may feel this type of things “only happen in places like Hong Kong,” you’re naivety to the United States technology race may end up crippling you.

That’s because the FBI most certainly partakes in facial data collection. They also collect information on how you walk and your voice. The FBI, according to a new lawsuit filed by the ACLU, can match 640 million images of United States adults. And worse more, the FBI is helping Amazon further develop recognition surveillance technology.

The FBI working with Big Tech could yield dire consequences for citizens not only in the United States but around the world.

Facial recognition surveillance is powerful not only because it is highly accurate, but also because of how discreet the set up is. You don’t realize when it’s surveilling you or your family. It runs in the shadows creating no noises, you don’t’ walk through any detectors, you don’t sign anything, and you don’t press your fingertips against a pad. It just happens. The surveillance data can be deeper and more extensive than any of us understand, hence, the ACLU’s lawsuit that aims to force the FBI to turn over all the data they’ve collected over the years.

The ACLU claims much of its motivation derives from past spying incidents that include racial equality groups, Occupy Wall Street, and a number of other left-wing organizations. As much as the ACLU’s greater point is well-received, their stated motivations making it an issue that only affects left-wing organizations is short-sighted. It’s safe to say that political groups on both sides of the aisle salivate at the potential to spy on its opponents. Both sides pitch the “trade a little of your privacy and we’ll keep you safer” motto.

The ACLU also fears a gender and racial bias could develop because some facial recognition technology has been shown to fail. They base this on an MIT study.

Many US cities, including San Fransisco, are banning facial recognition technology.

Last June, Somerville, Massachusetts followed San Fransisco’s move and banned the technology as well. The measure was passed in a unanimous fashion.

There’s a realization happening in the United States, and that’s that facial recognition technology has vast potential to enslave society. But the problem remains, if we don’t stop it now, it will be more difficult to reel in after it’s already deployed on every lamppost in America. Imagine an inability to protest your government, or walk into a store and look at firearms, without the government tracking you. What if health insurance providers can track how often you eat at Burger King. There is no shortage of tragic scenarios when such technology becomes ingrained in our society.