Facial recognition isn’t just about China and airports

The child labor activist, who works for Indian NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan, had launched a pilot program 15 months prior to match a police database containing photos of all of India’s missing children with another one comprising shots of all the minors living in the country’s child care institutions.

He had just found out the results. “We were able to match 10,561 missing children with those living in institutions,” he told CNN. “They are currently in the process of being reunited with their families.” Most of them were victims of trafficking, forced to work in the fields, in garment factories or in brothels, according to Ribhu.

This momentous undertaking was made possible by facial recognition technology provided by New Delhi’s police. “There are over 300,000 missing children in India and over 100,000 living in institutions,” he explained. “We couldn’t possibly have matched them all manually.”

Locating thousands of missing children is just one of the challenges faced by India’s overstretched police force in a nation of 1.37 billion people.

In spite of these practical benefits, I still do not favor facial recognition systems at the macro level.  India seems to be planning a big one:

…India’s government now has a much more ambitious plan. It wants to construct one of the world’s largest facial recognition systems. The project envisions a future in which police from across the country’s 29 states and seven union territories would have access to a single, centralized database.

Here is the full article with much more detail about the plans.


I don't care for the concept on the macro level either, but there are practical reasons to oppose it: false positives. What happens with new concepts like facial recognition is that they grow like kudzu.

The right to speak in public is one definition of facial recognition. It invents natural opinion, which is magical, "to us" stares are a 1st strike capability-- that lead wantonly, and twenty five percent of women are believe that logic is fundamentally religious.

Is surveillance capitalism worse or better than surveillance communism?

Surveillance is a wash, but communism is far worse than capitalism. For reasons of, uh, food distribution alone.

Your face is already recognized in your drivers license database. In your high school yearbook, etc. In other words, there is probably a picture out there that links the picture to a name.

So, the issue is not gathering of facial recognition data, but rather the permissible uses of it by the government or others.

Since your face is public, there is no "search" subject to court order, so we will have to rely upon legislation to limit or regulate usage of facial recognition or other biometric data. HIPAA may be a starting point, at least as to the protection, consent, and use of data.

In many ways, though, biometric recognition systems can protect the individual from someone else claiming to be you when they try to access your bank account, etc.

Your face, your fingertips, and other biometrics are a better identifier of you to a database than is a password, and biometric systems are less able to be compromised than, say, a fake drivers license which you got that enabled you to drink beer.

Look for the EU to lead the way in the data privacy and other issues before the US does, however.

Here is an ABA piece on the legal issues of facial recognition and other technologies: https://www.americanbar.org/groups/criminal_justice/publications/criminal-justice-magazine/2019/spring/facial-recognition-technology/

your face is "public" when you are out in public -- but your "identity" is unknown to most everyone you encounter.

your "identity" should be private, at your discretion.

images of your face reveal little -- unless correlated with other data.
thus, the real privacy threat is those mass "databases" ... that police, governments, and commercial marketeers are so aggresively building.

Most governments want to control the population for law & order purposes, but frequently for political purposes..
Governments control people by "watching" and tracking them.

Governmment mass electronic databases on the population are always bad and will eventually be used for nefarious purposes against the public.

Red China is leading the way, but India, UK, and U.S. governments love this technology too.

This would have helped the kid in the Lion movie. As a five-year-old, he unwittingly stowed away on a train that left his village and rolled halfway across India. He couldn't tell the authorities where he was from and ended up being adopted out.

"In spite of these practical benefits, I still do not favor facial recognition systems at the macro level."

If you don't explicitly support privacy law, then implicitly you do.

How has the ratio of human faces to mounted surveillance cameras changed over the most recent forty years?

How many aerial (drone- or balloon-mounted) surveillance cameras have debuted over the past decade (or the most recent five years)?

Globally, by what magnitude do cameras now outnumber human beings?

It's another department of bogus scientism. The AI mavens tell us it's all infallible but how it actually works is beyond the ken of a normal person and not going to be explained. This is true about facial recognition, DNA testing, blood alcohol testing, even finger printing. Then, of course, there's also the activities of those that administer and interpret these tests, many of whom are incompetent, dishonest or both.

Yet the AI seems to accurately identify people in my pictures. Remarkably it is also identified people who are related to me, but are not in my contacts.

Just so ya know, I read on this super secret

Conspiracy website that

Your faces are scanned

When you enter a

Trump rally.

Don't tell anyone because it is a secret.

I think the Ukrainians are behind it.

Pooprints is a company that offers DNA-based fecal identification. Is this next for India?


George Orwell meant to write a cautionary tale. But it turns out he wrote a playbook.

This needs to be said again: George Orwell meant to write a cautionary tale. But it turns out he wrote a playbook.

Today's surveillance state starts with the private sector not the public one like in Orwell's 1984. Big difference. East Germany followed the old Orwell playbook and collapsed like the top-heavy, clumsy Jenga tower it was. The newer private sector surveillance-industrial complex playbook in the US, China, and Israel however shows no sign of slowing down. Having skin in the game matters.

If it has such a heart-warming benefit as reuniting families (Americans love families) it can't be so bad.
I guess that is the strategy.

99.99999999999% of people love families...there family..that is the basic building block of all societies
if you're precious about privacy steer clear of anything to do with the internet...everything you say, write or do becomes a permanent record tied to you alone
eventually the panoptic state will be common...most will be happy...brave new world

Is anyone surprised to here that big data can provide benefits to society? They should not, it's just a new technology, like the power grid, electronics, advanced chemistry or manufacturing technology. we get better lives and better weapons to kill one another.

The issue is always about how effective both regulation, law and cultural norms allow a society to take advantages of the benefits while limiting the potential harms.

It's a tool like and it's totally out of the bag. A Sydney coffee shop scans peoples faces when they walk in and prepares their orders. When you are paying people $20 US an hour to make coffee you can be damn sure facial recognition technology is going to be used to cut back on labor costs.

Why tag cattle when you can just photograph their faces? Or, for that matter, pets. Why go through the effort of destroying a cat photographed in a nature reserve if a warning to its owners to keep inside or else can solve the problem?

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