Apple’s introduction of the face-scanning Face ID system in 2017’s iPhone X went a long way in helping to make facial recognition for authentication a mainstream technology among consumers. But it was Amazon that really made facial recognition for large-scale public identification explode into the national discourse as an ethical issue, after an ACLU report exposed the company’s sale of biometric surveillance technology to police agencies in the spring of last year. That helped to escalate a debate about the public use of facial recognition technology that is still going on today, with technology companies, government agencies, rights advocates, academics, and others weighing in on when, where, and how this kind of biometric technology should be used.
Some of the most important recent developments concern legislative restrictions on government use of this technology:
Meanwhile, some prominent tech companies are setting limits of their own:
And certain deployments have given cause for concern:
Yet industry excitement about the benefits and possibilities of facial recognition continues: