Facial recognition freak out: what the technology can and can’t do


Facial recognition is a hot topic of late: Facebook just launched its controversial Moments feature based on the technology, and news reports say 30 churches worldwide are using facial recognition to track who is attending their services. Meanwhile, several consumer groups walked out of an effort by the Department of Commerce to set rules for how the technology should be used, claiming that industry groups refused to concede meaningful limits. And now the lawsuits are piling up.

But while it’s important to debate how facial recognition tech can and should be used, it’s equally important to note there are multiple way to track a person’s face. A better understanding of how it works can help educate people about how we should be thinking about using it, and making rules for it.

Two types of facial recognition

First off, there are two different approaches that allow companies to employ facial…

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