According to The Guardian, superstar Taylor Swift’s usage of facial recognition technology at her concerts last year is still raising red flags, especially as facial recognition companies are using captured data for more than just security purposes.
ISM Connect, the company responsible for arming Swift’s concerts with facial recognition technology, uses smart screens to comb through crowds for stalkers, and “to capture metrics for promotion and marketing” opportunities, including collecting demographic data for brands.” It is unclear what happens to the data after the company collects and analyzes it.
While ISM Connect is one fish in a giant sea of facial recognition technology companies, it’s an example of how the industry itself is expanding, and becoming a “profitable tool” for marketers and retail companies. “In the next two years, facial recognition is expected to become a $9.6bn market, according to a 2015 report from Allied Research,” The Guardian says.
This may sound like good news for folks in the facial recognition technology space, but The Guardian also says that the industry is failing to “keep pace” with regulations. “Companies are expected to police themselves, and aren’t held to account for how they collect, use, and store the data.” As a result, privacy experts are raising awareness about “the lack of governmental oversight” with facial recognition tech,” and “the stealthy way” it’s being used to collect data on people.
To protect end users, some states are taking legislative action against facial recognition technology. For example, Illinois is the only state that requires companies and agencies to have opt-in consent before biometrics information is collected, The Guardian says. San Francisco introduced legislation that would “make it the first city in the country to ban its police departments from using this technology.” The rest of the country, The Guardian says, is “left to police” itself, and many end users don’t consider it to be a problem or view it as “a convenience tool.”
Industry experts say that Americans’ lax views of this technology is similar to their lack of understanding during Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, and how their collected data was being used against them.
As a result, The Guardian suggests that end users and decision makers alike strongly consider the implications of facial recognition technology, especially before they volunteer their faces to be scanned at a concert, or install the technology to begin with, respectively.
“The problem is that what the technology can do is far more invasive and personal than people realize, and this will only get worse as AI technology continues to grow in capability,” Mark Haskett, cofounder of Blink Identity, told The Guardian.