This article was originally published on The Conversation. The Trump administration's efforts to impose new immigration rules drew attention -- and legal fire -- for its restrictions on the ability of people born in certain majority Muslim countries to enter the U.S. In the frenzy of concern, an obscure piece of the executive orders did not get scrutinized, or even noticed, very much: its expansion of facial recognition systems in major U.S. airports to monitor people leaving the U.S., in hopes of catching people who have overstayed their visas or are wanted in criminal investigations. It's a much more powerful version of the method your phone or computer might use to identify friends in your photos. Using computers to recognize people's faces and validate their identities can streamline access control for secure corporate and government buildings or devices. Some systems can identify known or suspected criminals.
This summer, Facebook will present a paper at a computer vision conference revealing how it has created a tool almost as accurate as the human brain when it comes to saying whether two photographs show the same person – regardless of changes in lighting and camera angles. A human being will get the answer correct 97.53% of the time; Facebook's new technology scores an impressive 97.25%. "We closely approach human performance," says Yaniv Taigman, a member of its AI team. Since the ability to recognise faces has long been a benchmark for artificial intelligence, developments such as Facebook's "DeepFace" technology (yes, that's what it called it) raise big questions about the power of today's facial recognition tools and what these mean for the future. Facebook is not the only tech company interested in facial recognition.
Your face is now your passport. American Airlines is joining a growing list of companies that are beginning to offer facial recognition as a means of identification. The world's largest airline will now let some passengers simply scan their face to board their flight at the Los Angeles International Airport. American Airlines is joining a growing list of companies that are beginning to offer facial recognition as a means of identification. American Airlines is rolling out facial recognition cameras as part of a 90-day test to identify people before they get on board their flights from LAX's Terminal 4. The pilot program, which launched on Wednesday, came about as a result of partnership with digital security company Gemalto.
Facial recognition technology has spread prodigiously. Google, Microsoft, Apple and others have built it into apps to compile albums of people who hang out together. It verifies who you are at airports and is the latest biometric to unlock your mobile phone where facial recognition apps abound. Need to confirm your identity for a £1,000 bank transfer? Just look into the camera.