Your selfies have already been studied by the robot and he will be able to recognize you in the crowd: why does AI need photos of people

Your photos online can help improve facial recognition technology, whether you like it or not.

This week consumer group CHOICE reported,that retail giants Kmart, Bunnings and The Good Guys are using facial recognition technology to collect consumer biometric data in some stores. The Bunnings said they used it to identify people who had previously been involved in incidents and could be dangerous. The other two networks declined to comment.

Are we handing over our data ourselves, or is it forcibly taken from us?

As part of its study, CHOICE asked more than 1,000 people what they think of this technology. 65% said it was disturbing and some called it creepy.

This point of view is understandable.But, on the other hand, people themselves decide to post images of themselves and their faces in the public domain, for example, on social networks. And there is a connection between the two: posting selfies on social media, using streaming services, and using a loyalty card all convey more personal information than a facial recognition device.

In 2021, Meta* announced that they had stoppeduse similar technology to this, but that doesn't mean your photos aren't collected by other companies that create searchable databases of faces.

*Meta, including its Facebook and Instagram products, has been designated an extremist organization in Russia.

For many people, this may be news and even cause them to delete their accounts.

Why do algorithms need our photos?

“Algorithms interpret these photographs anduse the results of the work to better identify the person who is captured in the picture,” said Dennis Desmond, a cyberattack expert at Sunshine Coast University.

It doesn't matter if these are high quality or low quality pictures.

“Bad or blurry images are also useful in training the algorithm, since images from surveillance cameras are not always clear and of high quality,” he said.

Desmond noted that today many people do not understand what they get if they give up a certain level of privacy.

Why giving up privacy isn't always a bad thing?

In Osaka, Japan, some train stations are using facial recognition technology. It allows passengers to simply pass through the turnstiles without having to take out a ticket.

Law enforcement throughout Australiaapply this technology to stop serious crimes, as well as to prevent identity theft. If people knew more about these benefits, Desmond thinks, they might have a different attitude.

But people's opinion of this technology, which was invented in the 1960s in the US, probably won't change until there's more transparency.

On the Internet, people can limit the amount of data,which they transmit, for example by changing their cookie settings. But turning off face recognition is impossible unless you use makeup or other disguises.

Today in Russia there are no special laws,governing how data obtained through facial recognition technology can be used. Today, such biometric personal data includes information that characterizes the physiological and biological characteristics of a person (clause 1, article 11 of Law No. 152-FZ). It is important to note that on the basis of such information it is possible to establish the identity of the subject of personal data: for this purpose they are processed by the operator.

Sara Molds, Senior Lecturer in Law atThe University of South Australia doesn't think facial recognition is bad. But, in her opinion, it is necessary to clarify three critical elements: the consent of the person, the quality of the data, and whether information can be transferred to third parties.

How different technologies learn more about us

For many people, it doesn't really matter if their faces are examined and scanned.

But the situation becomes more complicated if this biometric information is combined with other data, such as a person's financial situation or medical records.

Experts say that from this combination of datayou can draw a conclusion about how much you earn, what is your level of education and what do you do on weekends. It can also help companies decide whether to give you credit, insurance, work, and so on.

But the reality is that this data can already be obtained if you study all the online activity of a person over the past few years.

Therefore, Desmond said that we need to start to seriously control this area, for example, start with facial recognition technology.

“I think it is necessary to strengthen the stateregulation and control of technologies that are used in the commercial sector. Especially when they affect the privacy and rights of individuals,” he said.

This is necessary, because, in his opinion, today neither the government nor the private sector can protect personal data in a quality manner.

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