Magazine article State Legislatures

Smile, the Camera's on You

Magazine article State Legislatures

Smile, the Camera's on You

Article excerpt

Cameras, ubiquitous in today's world, catch you while you're shopping, traveling, banking, eating and doing just about everything else. And not only do businesses and government film us, we film ourselves. We take selfies with our friends and family wherever we go. We upload them to social media sites, "tag" the faces of our friends so they can share the photos with their friends, and on and on.

Now, with the refinement of facial recognition technology, we can do even more with these photos. By comparing characteristics, such as the distance between eyes, the length of the nose and the angle of the jaw of a face in a photo to millions of photos in a database, the technology can help thwart identity thieves, identify terrorists, locate missing people, catch underage drinkers and stop problem gamblers. It can help businesses target their marketing and catch shoplifters. And, it can make life a little easier and more enjoyable for photo fanatics and social media followers who just want to share photos with their friends.

The FBI compares images with more than 30 million files in the U.S. Department of State's database of passport and visa applications, as well as several states' driver's license and mugshot databases. In at least 41 states and the District of Columbia, facial recognition is used to prevent driver's license fraud.

Like with many new technologies, however, there are privacy concerns. In Illinois and Texas, legislators tried to balance the legitimate business and government uses of this technology with consumers' privacy rights. …

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