Mapped: The State of Facial Recognition Around the World


This post is by Iman Ghosh from Visual Capitalist

View the full-size version of this infographic.

Facial Recognition World Map-1200px

Mapping The State of Facial Recognition Around the World

View the high resolution version of this infographic by clicking here.

From public CCTV cameras to biometric identification systems in airports, facial recognition technology is now common in a growing number of places around the world.

In its most benign form, facial recognition technology is a convenient way to unlock your smartphone. At the state level though, facial recognition is a key component of mass surveillance, and it already touches half the global population on a regular basis.

Today’s visualizations from SurfShark classify 194 countries and regions based on the extent of surveillance.

Facial Recognition Status Total Countries
In Use 98
Approved, but not implemented 12
Considering technology 13
No evidence of use 68
Banned 3

Click here to explore the full research methodology.

Let’s dive into the ways facial recognition technology is used across every region.

North America, Central America, and Caribbean

In the U.S., a 2016 study showed that already half of American adults were captured in some kind of facial recognition network. More recently, the Department of Homeland Security unveiled its “Biometric Exit” plan, which aims to use facial recognition technology on nearly all air travel passengers by 2023, to identify compliance with visa status.

Facial Recognition North America Map

Perhaps surprisingly, 59% of Americans are actually in favor of implementing facial recognition technology, considering it acceptable for use in law enforcement according to a Pew Research survey. Yet, some cities such as San Francisco have pushed to ban surveillance, citing a stand against its potential abuse by the government.

Facial recognition technology can potentially come in handy after a natural disaster. After Hurricane Dorian hit in late summer of 2019, the Bahamas launched a blockchain-based missing persons database “FindMeBahamas” to identify thousands of displaced people.

South America

The majority of facial recognition technology in South America is aimed at cracking down on crime. In fact, it worked in Brazil to capture Interpol’s second-most wanted criminal.

Facial Recognition South America Map

Home to over 209 million, Brazil soon plans to create a biometric database of its citizens. However, some are nervous that this could also serve as a means to prevent dissent against the current political order.

Europe

Belgium and Luxembourg are two of only three governments in the world to officially oppose the use of facial recognition technology.

Facial Recognition Europe Map

Further, 80% of Europeans are not keen on sharing facial data with authorities. Despite such negative sentiment, it’s still in use across 26 European countries to date.

The EU has been a haven for unlawful biometric experimentation and surveillance.

—European Digital Rights (EDRi)

In Russia, authorities have relied on facial recognition technology to check for breaches of quarantine rules by potential COVID-19 carriers. In Moscow alone, there are reportedly over 100,000 facial recognition enabled cameras in operation.

Middle East and Central Asia

Facial recognition technology is widespread in this region, notably for military purposes.

Facial Recognition Middle East and Central Asia Map

In Turkey, 30 domestically-developed kamikaze drones will use AI and facial recognition for border security. Similarly, Israel has a close eye on Palestinian citizens across 27 West Bank checkpoints.

In other parts of the region, police in the UAE have purchased discreet smart glasses that can be used to scan crowds, where positive matches show up on an embedded lens display. Over in Kazakhstan, facial recognition technology could replace public transportation passes entirely.

East Asia and Oceania

In the COVID-19 battle, contact tracing through biometric identification became a common tool to slow the infection rates in countries such as China, South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore. In some instances, this included the use of facial recognition technology to monitor temperatures as well as spot those without a mask.

Facial Recognition East Asia Oceania Map

That said, questions remain about whether the pandemic panopticon will stop there.

China is often cited as a notorious use case of mass surveillance, and the country has the highest ratio of CCTV cameras to citizens in the world—one for every 12 people. By 2023, China will be the single biggest player in the global facial recognition market. And it’s not just implementing the technology at home–it’s exporting too.

Africa

While the African continent currently has the lowest concentration of facial recognition technology in use, this deficit may not last for long.

Facial Recognition World Map

Several African countries, such as Kenya and Uganda, have received telecommunications and surveillance financing and infrastructure from Chinese companies—Huawei in particular. While the company claims this has enabled regional crime rates to plummet, some activists are wary of the partnership.

Whether you approach facial recognition technology from public and national security lens or from an individual liberty perspective, it’s clear that this kind of surveillance is here to stay.

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The post Mapped: The State of Facial Recognition Around the World appeared first on Visual Capitalist.

More on Facial Recognition Regulation


This post is by Continuations by Albert Wenger from Continuations by Albert Wenger

I have written previously about the need to regulate the use of facial recognition technology. The calls for regulation have become stronger in the wake of Kashmir Hill’s New York Times article about Clearview AI. It is extremely important to get this right. Here are a few more thoughts based on the article to add to my prior post.

First, it should be clear by now that it has become almost trivial to build a system like this. A lot of open source frameworks and neural networks have been made available that can be trained for face recognition. Clearview AI did not have to come up with some technological breakthrough, they just had to point existing technology at image sources (web scraping is also widely available).

Second, not surprisingly, the article mentions instances of the system being used successfully. Recognizing who someone is constitutes an essential part of investigative police work. If you live in New York, as I do, hardly a day goes by where there isn’t video footage of a crime such as a robbery show on television with a call to the public to identify a face.

What then does this mean? We have technology that can easily be built and that can readily help with legitimate police investigations. This are the good use cases. Then there are of course tons of ways to abuse this very same technology. For instance a police officer might use it to track down whom a former girlfriend (or boyfriend) Continue reading More on Facial Recognition Regulation

Here is what I am reading today

Here are some good early morning reads worth your time.

  • How is it that identical twins are getting many different results from five ancestry DNA test kits? The answer might be in the algorithms that church the data. And that, in a nutshell, is going to be the bias in the era of data and machines. This is a fascinating article.
  • Such an excellent idea — a device that can help you prevent Alexa and Google Home from continually listening to you all the time. Check out the Project Alias and the story in FastCompany. I am getting one!
  • SocialRecall is an app that connects names and faces using smartphone cameras, facial recognition and all the data that is out there. This presents an interesting dilemma. Today it might seem like a privacy nightmare, and tomorrow it could be a service augmenting our intelligence. Also, it won’t be long before Facebook copies Continue reading Here is what I am reading today

Regulation for Facial Recognition Technology

When Brad Smith from Microsoft had called for the regulation of Facial Recognition technology in July I was concerned about where that might go, as it could easily result in stifling innovation. I was therefore relieved to see the principles that Microsoft put forth yesterday, which are for the most part quite sensible.

image

In particular, I agree and strongly support the due process suggestion on government’s use of facial recognition technology. Surveillance of an individual using facial recognition should require a court order.

I am also a big fan of requiring an API to enable third party testing. This is in fact the first instance I am aware of in which a large tech company proposes such a requirement which I have written about frequently before and is a central part of what I call “Informational Freedom” in my book World After Capital. A great approach here Continue reading Regulation for Facial Recognition Technology

Regulation for Facial Recognition Technology

When Brad Smith from Microsoft had called for the regulation of Facial Recognition technology in July I was concerned about where that might go, as it could easily result in stifling innovation. I was therefore relieved to see the principles that Microsoft put forth yesterday, which are for the most part quite sensible.

image

In particular, I agree and strongly support the due process suggestion on government’s use of facial recognition technology. Surveillance of an individual using facial recognition should require a court order.

I am also a big fan of requiring an API to enable third party testing. This is in fact the first instance I am aware of in which a large tech company proposes such a requirement which I have written about frequently before and is a central part of what I call “Informational Freedom” in my book World After Capital. A great approach here Continue reading Regulation for Facial Recognition Technology