Facial recognition’s ominous rise: are we going too far too fast?

“We watch over you. Every single one,” says the narrator.

This ensures a “safe and secure environment”, the narrator continues.

These aren’t lines from a dystopian novel, but rather a video advertisement boasting about tech giant NEC’s advanced, real-time facial-recognition technology capabilities, being shown to an audience at its recent iEXPO2017 conference in Tokyo, Japan.

Already facial-recognition technology is being used at Crown Casinoin Melbourne to identify VIPs and banned guests. Australian state and federal policing agencies are also deploying it, with South Australia Police using it to identify criminals and to search for missing persons.

The state also plans to use it to enhance its existing CCTV network “by extracting faces in real-time and instantaneously matching them against a watch list of individuals”, according to its former police minister, Peter Malinauskas. Already police there have access to Adelaide Oval’s 400 CCTV cameras, granted in time for the Ashes.

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