The coronavirus pandemic is creating a lucrative market for facial recognition manufacturers. But privacy issues need to be top of mind, tech experts warn.
In the midst of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, facial recognition technology is being adopted globally as a way to track the virus’ spread.
But privacy experts worry that, in the rush to implement COVID-19 tracking capabilities, important and deep rooted issues around data collection and storage, user consent, and surveillance will be brushed under the rug.
“There is of course a space for facial recognition systems and their potential use, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, is clear in becoming an alternative to fingerprint and other biometric technologies that rely on touch based sensors,” Steve Durbin, managing director of the Information Security Forum, told Threatpost.
But, he said, “the issue of privacy and protection of the rights of the individual remains unchanged. Facial recognition is not a perfect science, we have seen public dissatisfaction with the way in which some governments have used facial recognition resulting in its withdrawal from use.
Looking ahead, experts urge governments and regulators to consider ironing out the privacy wrinkles before adopting facial recognition technology.
“For facial recognition systems to become an acceptable, widely used means of validating that we are who we say we are we first need to ensure that the privacy rights of the individual are protected, that the data is responsibly collected, stored and managed and that its use is restricted to the purpose for which it was originally taken,” Information Security Forum’s Durbin told Threatpost. “I think we are a long way off these safeguards being consistently rolled out.”