That's Orwellian

12 August, 2021 by
That's Orwellian
James Huang

Anyone with a smartphone that uses facial recognition will know it does not really work with a mask on.  But some facial-recognition technologies still work pretty well on those wearing a mask.

In January, a US Department of Homeland Security "controlled-scenario test" found one with a 96% success rate - although the results "varied greatly between systems".  "Based on these results" the department said, "organisations that need to perform photo ID checks could potentially allow individuals to keep their masks on, thereby reducing the risk of Covid-19 infection."

"Anyone walking in front of a camera where police departments are running facial recognition - their face can be captured and they can be identified. That's Orwellian."

'Touchless experience'

In the private sector, it is harder to tell whether the use of facial recognition has decreased over the past two year - there is no directory, no list of when and where it is used.

The idea is to cut waiting times, with Disney saying it wants a more "touchless experience".  And crucially, the technology does not require guests to take off their masks.

So once again, the pandemic, rather than hindering facial recognition, is being used as a reason to use it.  The pandemic has unfortunately provided cover for companies to push out to what are effectively mass-surveillance infrastructures, under the guise of public health.

What's next?

Did you want movie "Matrix" or read the book 1984?

That's Orwellian
James Huang
12 August, 2021
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