Linked – Who’s watching? Face recognition means goodbye to hiding in crowds

The technology is getting better. Just this week I downloaded Facebook’s Moments app to take a look at it and sure enough, it pretty much nailed every match of a person in a photo on my phone with their Facebook profile.

I don’t think we are going to stop businesses and government agencies from using it. If you’re out in public, someone, somewhere can absolutely identify you. This is the new reality. What will be interesting is how it starts to affect how we behave.

Let me give you an example. Working in a law firm, one of the things we all accept is that we don’t do anything in public that would embarrass the firm, or it’s clients. Work for a firm that represents the fast food industry, for example? Probably don’t want to quoted and identified along with your employer on the local news during a protest for higher minimum wage, or unionizing fast food workers. Your clients may not appreciate that.

So maybe you really do believe in that, but you just lay low in the crowd at the protest. Well, with facial recognition in use, someone, somewhere is going to be able to identify you, and link that up with all of your social media and professional information.


So, maybe you’re going to start to see fewer large crowds at protests, or you’re going to see more people hiding their faces in public. (Or just not going out in public at all).

I don’t think we’ve reached a point where we think very much about how much we are being filmed and how much facial recognition so the only time we see any real change in how people act is when they are knowingly doing something, like anarchy protests, etc. where they do not want to be identified. As the technology become more advanced, and part of the mass surveillance network, it will be interesting to see how much public behavior is influenced by it.

All those sci-fi movies with the government being able to follow you everywhere you go are not that far off. What kind of reactions will we see?

Will we actually be any better off because of it, or will it just be used to sell to us more effectively?

What changes in behavior would seem appropriate to you if you knew you could be identified by anyone on the street, including businesses and law enforcement?


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