Foolishly chasing revolutions
The tech will be used for identity verification of international travelers (including Americans) following an executive order from the president in 2017.
And now it seems authorities are rushing into deploying it in time for the 2021 deadline. This is despite the fact that facial recognition rates in law enforcement are incredibly low, and the law in many countries – including the US – simply isn’t set up to deal with the privacy implications.
Facial recognition is another technology like autonomous vehicles that many assume is far more advanced than it really is. And so people rush into making plans around it way before it’s ready. As I’ve said before in this newsletter, I’m sceptical that Chinese facial recognition is as good as the government there claims it is. It’s far more likely to be as bad as anywhere else, but presented as infallible so as to be a crime deterrent.
If the facial recognition tech used by airports is as poor as similar implementations elsewhere, it will lead to the wrong people being identified as criminals and at the very facing a delay to their journey, if not worse.
The BuzzFeed report depicts a rush to introduce a technology way ahead of it being ready for use at such scale.
I can’t help but feel the rapid transformations (the big revolutions!) of internet adoption and the smartphone have conditioned us to believe that every major new technology will develop just as quickly. It won’t. It’s far more sensible for us to sit back and wait for things to mature than constantly chasing the next big thing.