Who Uses Facial Recognition?

- Jul 03, 2019-

A lot of people and organizations use facial recognition — and in a lot of different places. Here’s a sampling:

U.S. government at airports. Facial recognition systems can monitor people coming and going to airports. The Department of Homeland Security has used the technology to identify people who have overstayed their visas or may be under criminal investigation. Customs officials at Washington Dulles International Airport made their first arrest using facial recognition in August 2018, catching an impostor trying to enter the country.

Mobile phone makers in products. Apple first used facial recognition to unlock its iPhone X and continues with the iPhone XS. Face ID authenticates — it makes sure you’re you when you access your phone. Apple says the chance of a random face unlocking your phone is about one in 1 million.

Colleges in the classroom. Facial recognition software can, in essence, take roll. If you decide to cut class, your professor could know. Don’t even think of sending your brainy roommate to take your test.

Social media companies on websites. Facebook uses an algorithm to spot faces when you upload a photo to its platform. The social media company asks if you want to tag people in your photos. If you say yes, it creates a link to their profiles. Facebook can recognize faces with 98 percent accuracy.

Businesses at entrances and restricted areas. Some companies have traded in security badges for facial recognition systems. Beyond security, it could be one way to get some face time with the boss.

Religious groups at places of worship. Churches have used facial recognition to scan their congregations to see who’s present. It’s a good way to track regulars and not-so-regulars, as well as to help tailor donation requests.

Retailers in stores. Retailers can combine surveillance cameras and facial recognition to scan the faces of shoppers. One goal: identifying suspicious characters and potential shoplifters.

Airlines at departure gates. You might be accustomed to having an agent scan your boarding pass at the gate to board your flight. At least one airline scans your face.

Marketers and advertisers in campaigns. Marketers often consider things like gender, age, and ethnicity when targeting groups for a product or idea. Facial recognition can be used to define those audiences even at something like a concert.