Facial recognition technology: key issues and emerging concerns
This chapter provides an introductory overview of the recent emergence of facial recognition technologies (FRTs) into everyday societal contexts and settings. As such, the chapter provides valuable social, political and economic context to the legal, ethical and regulatory issues that surround this fast-growing area of technology development. In particular, the chapter considers a range of emerging ‘pro-social’ applications of FRT that have begun to be introduced across various societal domains - from the application of FRTs in retail, entertainment, leisure and domestic contexts, through to the growing prevalence of 1:1 ID matching for intimate practices such as unlocking smartphones and other personal devices. In contrast to this seemingly steady acceptance and practical take-up of FRT throughout everyday life, the chapter makes a case for continuing to pay renewed attention to the everyday harms of these technologies in situ – most notably the harms associated with misrecognition of people’s presumed identities and/or mis-recognition of their inferred characteristics and attributes. All told, the chapter argues that FRT remains a technology that should not be considered as a benign addition to the current digital landscape. This remains technology that requires continued critical attention from scholars working in the social, cultural and legal domains.