Amazon’s controversial facial recognition technology has incorrectly matched more than 100 photos of politicians in the UK and US to police mugshots, a new study by Comparitech.com has revealed.
This isn’t the first time the software’s accuracy has been called into question. In July 2018, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) found 28 false matches between US Congress members and pictures of people arrested for a crime.
Biometrics was the big buzz word when I started my career in Information Security over 20 years ago and it’s amazing to see how much advancement has been made in this field, particularly its usage for securing access control with identity verification.
(1) Accuracy, (2) ease of use and (3) acceptable use are the 3 key requirements for continued success of biometrics as a technology. Businesses and organisations need to consider these factors and make informed business decisions on when is an appropriate time to incorporate biometrics into product offerings as they have a huge impact on trust.
Even with the advancements of artificial intelligence and processing power to identify people from biometrics, it is far from reliable technology. It is why trained human operators will be needed in conjunction with such software for the foreseeable future in order to eliminate false positives or false negatives.
One of the biggest challenges with this kind of software is they rely on quite basic pattern matching which can be bypassed quite easily with shadows, tattoos and so forth. We\’ve seen issues with facial recognition before in misidentifying people of colour or minorities. This is often due to lack of diversity in the development and testing teams, which is why it\’s important that any organisations developing such technologies ensures there is appropriate diversity and have a strong code of ethics to dictate what is or isn\’t appropriate development practices.