Practice Op-Ed– drpaleontology

Our faces are everywhere. Right now, as I am writing it, my laptop camera is most likely recording my face without me even asking it to be. Across the United States, millions of smartphone users may be unlocking their phones with a facial recognition scanner, but do we really know where those scans may be going? Before facial recognition scanners should be made fully public as they are now, they should be regulated so that our personal data may not be exploited.

The spread of the facial recognition scanners must be put on hold. Most people have nothing to hide and may feel that facial recognition needs not to be worried about, but at what point is it too much. Police nowadays are using our facial scans as a way to identify if we committed a crime, and many problems are consistent with this. The recognition scanners are far from accurate and can misidentify criminals. For decades, people have been wrongly convicted, and we as a society should evolve past that point to understand that more than just eyewitness testimony is not enough to convict. There is no difference between that eyewitness testimony and with the scanners. Until we can develop the technology to narrow down the search to one person, it should not be used.

Another issue present is the fact that developers are using the technology to sort people out. For example, Stanford researchers are using it to try to make a “Gaydar” meaning that the scanner could look at example of gay male and female faces to determine if you are homosexual. There is a multitude of problems with this. One of which being that there is no set face for someone to be gay, and the whole experiment was proved false, but if it were to be proven true, this could mean disastrous results for a wide array of the LGBTQ+ community all over the world. Certain countries still are very conservative with their belief on gay rights. Seventy country across the world criminalize same sex relations, and this is very scary. There are even death penalties for some regions. If there was a scanner to tell if you were gay, those hiding in fear, or even the ones completely straight may be targeted and charged with no proof other than a facial scan. Thousands may end up losing their lives due to this.

Just like the “Gaydar” scanner, a scanner may be implemented to determine what potential criminals can look like. In the past, people were prosecuted due to having a criminal’s face such as a person who looks like they would commit theft. As silly as this sounds, this could be a common occurrence if we keep up our use of facial scanners. Certain groups of people may get observed more frequently due to looks rather than an actual reason. This bias in the system may lead to wrongful convictions just like what has been happening for decades due to human made errors.

Our privacy is taken from us more and more each day, and we just all sit around and wait. If we do not act soon, we can end up with a monitoring like government much like that of China’s. We as a society must wake up and realize what is for our own good to save the lives of the world.

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