Face Facts: A Forum on Facial Recognition Technology, Project No. P115406
“How can consumers benefit from the use of these technologies?” I believe facial recognition software is good only for identification purposes (as opposed to verification). Verification (or authentication) requires 100% accuracy whereas identification, for many applications, need not be absolutely correct all the time. For example, Facebook’s facial recognition software helps users automatically tag friends in pictures – it is not the end of the world if it tags incorrectly. However, if a facial recognition based verification system thinks I am someone else and grants me access to secure systems then the end of the world may be closer. I believe biometrics based security only appears to be more advanced than traditional approaches. This may be because we’re weaned to be amazed by the fact that no two people have the same fingerprints, or because Hollywood knows how to impress us with it. Traditional two-factor authentication is significantly easier and cheaper to implement (“something you know” & “something you have”) and has a proven track record. Having created facial recognition security software, I honestly feel that it is a sham (as well as biometrics based security in general). There are just too many human variables to account for. There are just too many ways of circumventing such technology. I have seen too many companies “upgrade” to biometrics based security only to revert to previous security protocols months later because it just doesn’t work the way the salesman said it would.