Facial Recognition Software the Good, the Bad, Microsoft President Asking Government to Regulate to Prevent Abuse



Did you know that 2018 is the landmark year for facial recognition software? It can feel like this type of technology is far away, but it is here now! This has largely started with the new iPhone X because you can unlock it with your face. And according to The Economist, reportedly by next year, 2019, “There will be millions of those devices, and we’re going to get used to unlocking our phone, then we’re going to start getting used to getting into our banking apps with face recognition, and it’s going to start feeling normal.” This will change the way we live!

Who invented facial recognition? It was invented in Israel but only for security reasons since their country has been under attack. Now facial recognition cameras are everywhere all over the world, and we are being tracked, and the information is being stored in databases. Technology is great, but it makes a difference who is over it and who is storing the data. Revelation 13:16-17 says, “It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.” This is happening now, in China, Sesame Credit is being used to give a certain score to each individual, like a credit score, and based on that score determines what you can or can’t do. This will be fully implemented by 2021. It sounds much like the mark of the beast.

Now with facial recognition being everywhere we’re being tracked. The Economists states, “The technology will also have the power to covertly track your movements…Moving into a world where machines can follow you around and characterize you based only on your face is worrying because it potentially limits your freedom.” We are the only form on the earth that can express the glory of God with our emotions. And this technology is tracking our expressions. We need to take the time that we can to tell others about Jesus. God told us this would happen in His Word and we happen to be found living in those days. We must be found faithful. We can let God’s goodness come through us and share that with the world. You can share through social media and to whoever you meet.

Based on how facial recognition is being used the President of Microsoft, Brad Smith is asking for regulations to be placed on that technology. CNN Tech reported, “In a blog post, Microsoft (MSFT)President Brad Smith said new laws are necessary given the technology’s “broad societal ramifications and potential for abuse.” He urged lawmakers to form “a government initiative to regulate the proper use of facial recognition technology, informed first by a bipartisan and expert commission.” Facial recognition — a computer’s ability to identify or verify people’s faces from a photo or through a camera — has been developing rapidly. Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOG), Amazon and Microsoft are among the big tech companies developing and selling such systems. The technology is being used across a range of industries, from private businesses like hotels and casinos, to social media and law enforcement. Supporters say facial recognition software improves safety for companies and customers and can help police track down criminals or find missing children. Civil rights groups warn it can infringe on privacy and allow for illegal surveillance and monitoring. There is also room for error, they argue, since the still-emerging technology can result in false identifications. The accuracy of facial recognition technologies varies, with women and people of color being identified with less accuracy, according to MIT research.”

The Economists continues their report, stating that facial recognition is being used to track teachers on their breaks and even tracking church parishioners to track attendance. As a citizen of America, our rights are written in the Constitution, and the Fourth Amendment is being violated with how we are being tracked. The Fourth Amendment states, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” The President of Microsoft, Brad Smith, asked the question, “Facial recognition raises a critical question: what role do we want this type of technology to play in everyday society?” How this technology is used needs to be constitutional.

The Pew Research Center researched privacy and information sharing, and they reported, “Many Americans say they might provide personal information, depending on the deal being offered and how much risk they face…These findings suggest that the phrase that best captures Americans’ views on the choice between privacy vs. disclosure of personal information is, “It depends.” People’s views on the key tradeoff of the modern, digital economy – namely, that consumers offer information about themselves in exchange for something of value – are shaped by both the conditions of the deal and the circumstances of their lives. In extended comments online and through focus groups, people indicated that their interest and overall comfort level depends on the company or organization with which they are bargaining and how trustworthy or safe they perceive the firm to be. It depends on what happens to their data after they are collected, especially if the data are made available to third parties. And it also depends on how long the data are retained.”  The U.S. Constitution was put in place to protect us! But now because of comfort and convenience people are giving up their Constitutional rights. The Pew Research Center asked specific questions concerning different situations and the responses are below.

The nearby chart runs down the six different scenarios that were examined in this study.

Many Americans are in an “it depends” frame of mind when they think about disclosing personal information or keeping it private when considering different scenarios

% of adults who would find these different scenarios acceptable or not acceptable
Office surveillance cameras

Several co-workers of yours have recently had personal belongings stolen from your workplace, and the company is planning to install high-resolution security cameras that use facial recognition technology to help identify the thieves and make the workplace more secure. The footage would stay on file as long as the company wishes to retain it, and could be used to track various measures of employee attendance and performance. Read more about this scenario.

Sharing health information

A new health information website is being used by your doctor’s office to help manage patient records. Your participation would allow you to have access to your own health records and make scheduling appointments easier. If you choose to participate, you will be allowing your doctor’s office to upload your health records to the website and the doctor promises it is a secure site. Read more about this scenario.

Retail loyalty cards

A grocery store has offered you a free loyalty card that will save you money on your purchases. In exchange, the store will keep track of your shopping habits and sell this data to third parties. Read more about this scenario.

Auto insurance

Your insurance company is offering a discount to you if you agree to place a device in your car that allows monitoring of your driving speed and location. After the company collects data about your driving habits, it may offer you further discounts to reward you for safe driving. Read more about this scenario.

Free social media

A new social media platform is being used by your former high school to help manage communications about a class reunion. You can find out the basic information about the reunion over email, but your participation on the social media site would reconnect you with old friends and allow you to communicate more easily with those who are attending. If you choose to participate, you will be creating a profile using your real name and sharing a photo of yourself. Your access to the service is free, but your activity on the site would be used by the site to deliver advertisements it hopes will be appealing to you. Read more about this scenario.

Smart thermostat

A new technology company has created an inexpensive thermostat sensor for your house that would learn about your temperature zone and movements around the house and potentially save you on your energy bill. It is programmable remotely in return for sharing data about some of the basic

activities that take place in your house like when people are there and when they move from room to room. Read more about this scenario.




Source: Survey conducted Jan. 28 – Feb. 16, 2015.

Note: Refused responses not shown.

We must trust God during these days and be wise in what we agree to and what we allow in our lives. We can’t stop this, but we can be at peace. Be encouraged that God is in control. We want to hear from you and what you think about this. You can email us at [email protected] or through our social media. Greg and John shared in this segment.

Image courtesy of Storyblocks.com

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