But what about citizens’ privacy, you ask? The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are vocal in opposing attempts to obtain personal information of law-abiding citizens through covert surveillance activities. They oppose random acquisition of digital photos and video that is intrusive or used to track/record movement of people from location to location.
And citizens can rest easy at night as anonymous face detection is no direct threat. Facial recognition algorithms are not invasive—there is no known database reference point to match the “anonymous” photo to a previously-established knowledge base, despite concerns that driver license photos could be matched to innocuous surveillance video networks. Governmental agencies need to reassure the public that abuses are prevented and privacy safeguarded.
So who wins?
Consumers can be confident that their privacy rights are not being trampled, advertisers can obtain statistical information provided on an opt-in basis and law enforcement expands their surveillance footprint all off of a common capital investment.
Allan M. Olbur of CALComm Technology Solutions, OLAM Development Group, Chicago, has more than 35 years of experience in converged technology including datacom, telecom, infrastructure, security and public safety. His background also includes an emphasis on specialized software development for customized applications in public spaces, mass transit, high-rise buildings and campus environments.