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Facial recognition system

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A facial recognition system is a computer-driven application used to automatically identify or verify a person’s identity using their face. This technology[1], which started taking shape in the 1960s, works by comparing selected facial features from a digital image or a video with faces within a database. It has wide-ranging applications including in law enforcement, video surveillance, passenger screening, and human-computer interaction. However, its use has raised concerns about privacy[2] violations, incorrect identifications, and potential for abuse like deepfakes. The technology continues to evolve, with advancements like 3D sensors and new detection frameworks improving its accuracy. Despite controversies, facial recognition systems are actively deployed worldwide, subject to varying levels of legislation and regulation.

Terms definitions
1. technology. Technology, derived from the Greek words meaning craft and knowledge, is a broad term that refers to the tools, machines, and systems developed by humans to solve problems or fulfill objectives. Originating with primitive tools like stone axes and the discovery of fire, technology has evolved significantly throughout human history. It has been instrumental in different eras, from the invention of the wheel and advanced irrigation systems in ancient civilizations to the birth of universities and printing press during the medieval and Renaissance periods. The Industrial Revolution in the 18th century marked a significant shift in mass production and innovation, giving rise to modern technologies like electricity, automobiles, and digital communication platforms. Today, technology is integral to various aspects of life and society, driving economic growth and societal change, while also raising concerns about security, privacy, and environmental impacts. The future of technology is expected to bring even more advancements, with the rise of artificial intelligence predicted to have significant implications for the job market.
2. privacy. Privacy is a fundamental concept that has evolved throughout history and continues to shape our societal discourse. Historically, it stemmed from philosophical debates, with figures like Aristotle and John Locke laying the groundwork. Privacy also entwines with legal and ethical issues, as seen in landmark Supreme Court cases and revelations like those from Edward Snowden. Technological advancements have both challenged and enhanced privacy, introducing new threats and protective measures. Globally, privacy standards vary, with different countries and international organizations setting their guidelines. In today's digital age, privacy faces new challenges and considerations, such as social media use, selfie culture, and location-based services. This concept encompasses an individual's right to keep their personal information secret and free from unsanctioned intrusion.

A facial recognition system is a technology potentially capable of matching a human face from a digital image or a video frame against a database of faces. Such a system is typically employed to authenticate users through ID verification services, and works by pinpointing and measuring facial features from a given image.

Facial recognition software at a US airport
Automatic ticket gate with face recognition system in Osaka Metro Morinomiya Station

Development began on similar systems in the 1960s, beginning as a form of computer application. Since their inception, facial recognition systems have seen wider uses in recent times on smartphones and in other forms of technology, such as robotics. Because computerized facial recognition involves the measurement of a human's physiological characteristics, facial recognition systems are categorized as biometrics. Although the accuracy of facial recognition systems as a biometric technology is lower than iris recognition, fingerprint image acquisition, palm recognition or voice recognition, it is widely adopted due to its contactless process. Facial recognition systems have been deployed in advanced human–computer interaction, video surveillance, law enforcement, passenger screening, decisions on employment and housing and automatic indexing of images.

Facial recognition systems are employed throughout the world today by governments and private companies. Their effectiveness varies, and some systems have previously been scrapped because of their ineffectiveness. The use of facial recognition systems has also raised controversy, with claims that the systems violate citizens' privacy, commonly make incorrect identifications, encourage gender norms and racial profiling, and do not protect important biometric data. The appearance of synthetic media such as deepfakes has also raised concerns about its security. These claims have led to the ban of facial recognition systems in several cities in the United States. Growing societal concerns led social networking company Meta Platforms to shut down its Facebook facial recognition system in 2021, deleting the face scan data of more than one billion users. The change represented one of the largest shifts in facial recognition usage in the technology's history. IBM also stopped offering facial recognition technology due to similar concerns.

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