Radio Times

Facial Recognition Technology

July 21, 2011


(AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Hour 1

Police and sheriff departments around the country are testing facial recognition technology. They are building databases of suspects using photos, iris scans and fingerprints that will allow law enforcement officials to identify people remotely using handheld devices.  The CIA uses similar technology to identify and track militants.  Facebook uses facial recognition to tag photos, and some smartphone apps claim to be able to identify faces using built-in cameras.  But all this new technology is raising serious concerns with about privacy and civil liberties.  We’ll talk about that and how facial recognition could help law enforcement.  We’ll also find out just how good the technology is – can it ID a face at a distance, in a crowd, how about with dark glasses and a fake mustache?  Our guests are ANITA ALLEN, Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania and DAVID COX, Director of the Vision Laboratory at the Rowland Institute at Harvard University.

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