Privacy or convenience? Today’s technology frequently asks users to pick. Smart home security can bring this uneasy choice home. The fact is, smart home devices must gather and transmit data to give value. But the practices and features that enable smart home security to be seamless (like automatically synchronizing devices) however, make them troublesome.
Facial recognition raises the security and privacy concerns associated with smart-home systems to the next level. Smart security cameras, with and without facial recognition, can be compromised, with function and footage that is maliciously used by hackers. What about cameras that create a database that matches names to faces? Biometric information makes the possibility of hacking much more serious and increases another globalized concern — racial bias.
The concept of facial recognition, what it is and how it’s applied
New technology is frequently expensive however, it is also inefficient and controversial. Face recognition addresses all three. It has enormous potential in a huge range of fields -from airports, in crowd management as well as in grocery stores where cameras on the shelves can detect shopper mood. Facial recognition can be applied just about everywhere; including the security of your house.
Facial analysis algorithms enable security cameras to identify the faces of your family members. This helps to provide an easier and more efficient system control (the facial recognition camera will “recognize” your face at the door, and then deactivate your alarm) and increases the detail of alerts.
However, the technology of today is still quite clunky. It is necessary to expose the camera to faces you wish it to recall, either by adding photos or letting the camera take their picture. Facial recognition cameras build the database of familiar faces (most can remember 16-32). Because faces are three-dimensional and are constantly moving unlike a static fingerprint, cameras are required to learn faces by seeing them from various angles over time — for a couple of days or longer. You may have encountered this procedure if set up face ID on your new iPhone.
Analytics are performed inside the camera which is an advantage for privacy. Names and faces aren’t transported to a central server for company use which means they’re not vulnerable to massive data breaches or exploitable for commercial purposes. This also means that obtaining an alert for a repeat-offense criminal is still an incredibly long way away.
The recognition of facial features makes the home smarter
The security device that remembers faces enhances accessibility and prevention. Early adopters can move beyond the “Hey, Alexa” style of system control. Simply showing your face to the camera is enough to adjust the room’s temperature to your desired 71° and turn on Spotify.
The facial recognition feature also provides more specific information to alerts sent by the system. Instead of reporting that an anonymous person who walked through your door at 2:33 pm the camera that recognizes faces lets you know it was your grandma. False alarms start with false alarms. Cameras that can distinguish a loved one from an intruder will cut down on spurious alerts, and helps you decide when you should call the police.
Very few cameras can offer facial recognition
Facial recognition remains not a common feature on home security cameras. Not all cameras that boast the feature actually come with it. There are a handful cameras with true facial recognition software that includes Honeywell, Nest, Netatmo, Tend Secure, Wisenet and more — but there are many more in the works. Abode, ADT, and LG have all teased facial recognition devices in CES 2020.
Notably, Ring Alarm, the security company bought from Amazon at the end of 2016 and associated with innovation and innovation, does not yet include facial recognition capabilities in its intelligent cameras.
For better or worse, Amazon sees just such the future. An Amazon patent suggests pairing Ring doorbells with technology known as Rekognition. This upgrade could link citizen cameras to police databases.
Facial recognition has its limitations.
Ring cameras do not yet come with facial recognition, but the negative publicity the company has faced in the last year shows the technology’s potential negatives: big-brother surveillance, loss of privacy hacking, as well as racial profiling. Cameras aren’t always able to recognize dark-skinned people. A weakness like this can have an effect if the footage of cameras are deployed to track criminals.
Technology’s privacy and biased nature — those are two reasons why we should avoid facial recognition. The quality of the facial recognition software is a different one. Facial recognition software takes time to build its database and is easily fooled. As less advanced the software will be, the more likely it is that shadows and sunglasses could confuse it.
What should you look for when looking for facial recognition security cameras
Facial recognition, though still in the early stages and uncertain as it may be, represents a fresh technological frontier in artificial intelligence. The ability to detect a person’s facial features is a human-like ability.
If you’re ready to add facial recognition to your home security system then shop for the best security system and put privacy in your mind. Choose only devices for smart homes that are equipped with robust security protocols that are in place. This includes, at a minimum, two-factor authentication and regular security updates. Simple controls that allow you to shut off audio, video, or specific capabilities (including the ability to recognize faces) are also important. Make sure to place your facial recognition device so that it is recording only those living on your property, not every stranger that passes by. And consider posting a sign nearby to notify whoever steps on your property to know that they’re under surveillance.
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