What Facial Recognition Technology Can Do for Safety Right Now—And What It Can’t Do Yet
Everyone’s looking for ways to stay safer now, and many are looking to technology for help. Facial recognition is one of the tools that government agencies and businesses are exploring—both to slow the spread of the new coronavirus and to protect data from cybercriminals trying to profit from pandemic-related disruption. However, it’s not always immediately clear what facial recognition can do reliably now, what it can’t do and what it can do when people are wearing masks, sunglasses and other items that obscure the face.
For example, facial recognition has become a biometric marker for some digital payment methods like Apple Pay to authenticate users. And many companies are looking for ways to use facial recognition to reduce the need to touch surfaces like payment terminals and locks with fingerprint scanners. But facial recognition systems that consistently recognize all kinds of people correctly in all kinds of settings have yet to be brought to market, let alone when those people are wearing many types of face masks to protect their health.