Faceprint facial recognition technology is used by social media to enhance identification of users. Not only is it useful to identify you as a named social media participant, it is also useful to establish group relationships involving other individuals in your social media platform. Last year we posted on the European Union’s concern with facial recognition technology being limitlessly used for the wrong reasons. The EU’s main concern was the potential vulnerability of citizens if identities were to fall into the wrong hands. Facial Recognition Technology (FRT) does step forward and can go beyond what appears to be a helpful means to enhance associations on Facebook, Shutterfly, Google, and other social media platforms.
Uses of FRT is prevalent by governments, law enforcement, and commercial entities. The limitless event of using FRT has made privacy cases pop up in the United States, underscoring claims of violation of privacy arguments. The inherent application of biometric technology used by law enforcement is as well easily used for commercial purposes. Yet, if the government is infringing on privacy, the Fourth Amendment provides protections, which by virtue of the court decisions, also apply to handheld technologies including mobiles. The extent of the protection is to where one reasonably expects privacy. The expectation of privacy is being determined when one is in public settings in a commercial area.
Commercial uses are occurring when an establishment sells the video of its daily occurrences in their establishment to a third-party. That third-party by using FRT will then identify the patrons of the establishment and collect the relational biometric data. In turn, then marketing agencies can profile your social habits, your commercial interests, political activities, recreational interests, even your favorite liquor store, drug store, adult store, and the church you worship at and where and when you bank.
On the commercial aspect of using faceprint technology, the constitutional principles are not applicable. The redress would be with the Federal Trade Commission to determine in what manner the biometric technology is used, collected, and shared. More importantly, if it is related to advertising, marketing, and activities that could be construed as deceptive and unfair business practices, the FTC is within its wheelhouse. Into the realm of privacy, how the digital data used, collected, and shared is, however, outside the FTC’s wheelhouse.
Social media has broadened not by itself but by the sheer availability provided that multitudes around the world interconnect by sharing their information, putting their own lives for the public to view and be informed about. Unbeknownst to them the means of biometric technology enabling facial recognition has dramatic human rights and privacy implications. It as well has security and identity protection vulnerability implications for all. Current laws are archaic as they are silent on this facet of our digital social life and social aspect of our personal business. One can say, that “in social media we don’t mind our own business we mind the business of others.” Moreover, when it comes to state protections, only Washington, Illinois, and Texas have provisions in place that limit the use and collection of biometric information. Federal provisions that seem applicable to this malady of cyber security and potential invasion of privacy, i.e., the Wiretap Act and the Video Privacy Act are not written to aptly address the nuanced information technological developments involving biometrics and faceprints. This technological use of faceprints and biometrics is the new frontier for surveillance, account verification, antiterrorism, law enforcement, and knowing where you have been and where you like to shop. It is also useful as it is collectively related to your activity, to enable a profiling to predict your life’s next steps.