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Resisting the Rise of Facial Recognition

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Resisting the Rise of Facial Recognition

Growing use of surveillance technology has prompted calls for bans and stricter regulation.


5 min read
4 take-aways
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What's inside?

Facial recognition technology has the potential for both good and evil – and needs clear regulations.

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Facial recognition technology (FRT) is used for smartphone security, passport control, police investigations and many other applications. As the rollout of FRT accelerates, regulations to control its application are playing catch-up – and are mostly insufficient to safeguard people’s privacy and freedom. Antoaneta Roussi and Richard Van Noorden’s article is a disconcerting and important read.


The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the rollout of automated facial recognition technology (FRT).

People have become familiar with the use of facial recognition technology (FRT) at borders, on their smartphones and in criminal investigations. Increasingly, cities all over the world are also implementing this technology to prevent and solve crimes.

This wider rollout has accelerated since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some countries such as Russia, China, South Korea and India, have set up FRT video surveillance systems in their cities to help them monitor people’s movement and enforce lockdowns.

Researchers and rights activists are questioning...

About the Authors

Antoaneta Roussi is a freelance journalist and writer based in Nairobi, Kenya. Additional reporting by Richard Van Noorden, a features editor at Nature Research.

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