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Who can it be now?

Who can it be now?

Who can it be knocking at my door? Go 'way, don't come 'round here no more. Who can it be now?

These 1981 lyrics of Men at Work foretold the usage of Facial Recognition (FR) today.

The changes brought on by the great pandemic of COVID-19 have given governments a justifiable reason for the increase of CCTV cameras using FR technology. This has increased mass surveillance touching over half the global population. This is a keyway for monitoring people that is increasing with every day. There are 110 countries that have publicly acknowledged their regular use of FR and only 3 countries, Belgium, Morocco, and Luxemburg, where it is fully banned.

Facial recognition is technology that matches the human face from an image or video against a database of faces. FR is combined with Artificial Intelligence (FR), 3D Face Recovery (3DFR), Human Identification at Distance (HID), Thermal Facial Imagery (TFI), and Facial Emotion Recognition (FER) to make it more effective. Combining these technologies into algorithms is now common around the world to build huge biometric identification databases. Automated decision-making with FR can be used for predictive policing, credit decisions, and employment. FR can capture the identities of thousands, even millions, of people at any time.

The global FR market is estimated at $7 billion and on pace to increase almost 20% a year over the next 5 years. China will account for an estimated 45 percent of the facial recognition technology market. In 2017, China filed over 900 FR patents compared to 96 by the U.S.

Facebook has its DeepFace and Google has its FaceNet programs. Russia's Central Bank, in 2017, deployed countrywide a program to collect faces, voices, iris scans, and fingerprints. In the U.S., FR is legal in 45 states to identify people in public without consent. New York, California, Washington, Illinois, and Texas banned FR for commercial use. In India, the Aadhaar program accounts for 1.26 billion people. All Indian residents over 18 have their name, birth date, gender, address, photograph, fingerprints, and iris scans in Aadhaar. China has one FR camera installed for every 12 citizens. Since December 2019, China requires a facial scan for anyone seeking mobile phone services – about 850 million people.

To most, FR is an easy way to unlock your phone or pay for items. At the government level, FR is key to mass surveillance. FR allows the matching of billions of images that are screen scraped every day from your social media and other websites, as well as driver’s-license databases. Faceprint storage comes from everywhere you go - stores, gyms, parking lots, schools, travel, hotels, restaurants, food shopping, etc. Every picture you post can be used for FR surveillance. Better think twice about what you upload.

Delta Airlines uses it for passenger check-in. Miami Airport will have FR for all international flights by 2021. Walmart uses FR for security, to prevent shoplifting, and to proactively advert-target YOU! In Japan, FR is enabling a new kind of smartphone banking system, letting bank customers use their faces instead of their bank cards to speed up transactions. FR is also used to identify important customers and then to inform the bank manager to come and greet them personally.

Facial recognition can be deployed in almost every dimension of life, from banking and commerce to transportation and communications. FR can be used to send out “verbal warnings” if you are spotted doing something you should not be doing. FR in new vehicles can tell when a driver is tired and take accident prevention actions by shutting off your car. FR can track employee productivity and behavior, including if you are not smiling enough.

Australia proposed using FR for age verification of people watching online porn. The government project called Lamppost-as-a-Platform (LaaP) will fit a camera on every lamppost in Singapore. In Moscow, they used over 100,000 FR cameras to monitor COVID-19 quarantine rules violators. Cracking down on crime worked in Brazil where FR found Interpol’s second most wanted criminal. After hurricane Dorian, the Bahamas used FR to identify thousands of missing and displaced people. Israel uses FR to keep a close eye on Palestinians at 27 West Bank checkpoints. Turkey mounted FR on drones for border control and security. The city of Nice has the most FR cameras in France. In the U.A.E., police use discreet FR smart glasses to scan crowds with positive matches showing on their lens.

You have zero expectation of privacy in public. Anyone at any time can record you or take pictures of you. You are recorded on cameras everywhere you go without your knowledge. FR can be used to watch, track, or analyze citizens - and even assign them a "social credit" score or calculate a "personal risk” score. Your insufficient scores may lead to arrest, quarantine, even denying you employment or travel. Governments will be able to determine your location 24/7 tracking your actions and behavior. With COVID-19, governments have granted themselves all sorts of new powers. The impact on personal freedom will be long-lasting as the ripple effects of the global pandemic start to take shape.

All I wish is to be alone. Stay away, don't you invade my home. Who can it be now?


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Chris Principe

Chris Principe


APB, Inc.

Member since

15 Nov 2008



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