The swift development and increasing deployment of facial recognition software prompts the question are we heading towards a tech-driven utopia, or will future technology use our faces to monitor, control and limit our freedoms?

One of the first things humans recognise is the face. Studies show that babies who are less than an hour old stare at faces longer than any other ‘pattern’ and that older babies’ brains respond to faces in much the same way as adults’ do.

Digital recognition has taken a lot longer to develop but it’s about to come of age. It is increasingly accurate, which means it is being deployed by commercial, governmental and criminal concerns. Take Facebook’s Deepface software, which is being developed for automatic tagging of friends in photos, with a 97.25% accuracy rate, lagging only 0.18% behind a human’s.

This is nothing too sinister, but consider the following.

• 55,000 ‘face recognition quality’ images are intercepted and stored by the NSA daily

• 1.8 million webcam images were collected by GCHQ over a six month period

• 91,000 CCTV cameras in London alone

Whilst few would complain if face recognition software led to the capture of known criminals, its uses are already much closer to home.

• Advertisers are already using facial recognition to target specific ads at certain demographics

• Concerns have been raised that retailers are planning to use it to track consumer behaviour

• As we saw above it is not just terrorists who are being profiled by spy agencies

As facial recognition becomes more effective the questions it raises become more pressing, and much more personal. Who exactly is recording your face? Where are you being tracked? And more importantly, how is this collected data being used?

In this infographic from they explore how effective facial recognition is today, who is using it and what it means for you. This infographic may not show you a future you’d want, but it might be one that you have to face.

Facial Recognition : Who is Watching You Online and Why?

Facial Recognition : Who is Watching You Online and Why? (Infographic) -
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