Facial recognition technology relies on the process of identifying or verifying a person's identity using their facial features. Software known as facial verification can be used to establish someone’s identity, for instance as a way to unlock electronic devices and to help with passport checks at airports.
In the real estate context, it is also commonly found within entry systems which automatically grant entry for staff and authorised visitors instead of issuing a key fob or a card. These sorts of uses are usually carried out with the subject’s knowledge and usually work to their advantage by speeding up processes and providing enhanced security.
Facial identification systems are most often encountered on social media platforms, where they automatically identify the same face across multiple photos and can link a face to a profile. The police also use facial identification, for instance on still images taken from CCTV or social media, to identify someone against their custody image database.
However, live facial recognition technology (“LFRT”) is more controversial. It works by using facial recognition software to scan real time video footage, detecting faces in a frame and then checking them against set criteria, such as a watchlist. Any matches that clear a pre-set threshold are then ranked and displayed. It functions more like CCTV and has sometimes been used without the knowledge of the data subjects.