I’ve discussed before the increasing use of facial recognition technology, especially in advertising in “digital signage.” Most people have heard of the term connected with billboards or other screens that have cameras (and facial-recognition technology) to watch people watching ads in order to improve their marketing. The digital signs log data such as gender, approximate age and how long someone looks at an advertisement. As identification technology becomes cheaper and more prevalent, it could easily unmask people and track their movements. Those who were previously part of the unnamed crowd could be singled out for identification.
See this previous post for a discussion about the First Amendment right to free speech and how widespread identification technologies can affect that. More of my thoughts on facial recognition in this older GCN interview. Currently, the Federal Trade Commission is considering the use of the technology.
Now, the Daily Mail reports on the use of the biometric technology in Japan.
A new camera technology from Hitachi Hokusai Electric can scan days of camera footage instantly, and find any face which has EVER walked past it.
Its makers boast that it can scan 36 million faces per second. […]
The ‘trick’ is that the camera ‘processes’ faces as it records, so that all faces which pass in front of it are recorded and stored instantly. […]
The company aims to make the system available within the next tax year, according to a report in DigInfo.
The system does have limitations – it can only scan faces within a certain field of view in front of the camera, and faces have to be at least 40×40 pixels in size to be indexed by the system.