Facial Recognition Technology | Benefits and Challenges

Have you ever unlocked your phone with a simple glance? Or perhaps scrolled through social media and seen a friend tagged in a photo you weren’t even aware of? These are just a few examples of how facial recognition technology, a powerful tool with growing influence, has permeated our daily lives.

But how exactly does it work? What are its potential benefits and drawbacks? And where is this technology headed in the future? These are some aspects we are going to address.

In the following sections, we will discuss what facial recognition technology is and how it works. We will also consider some ethical concerns around this.

What is Facial Recognition Technology?

Facial recognition is a method of recognising or verifying a person’s identity using their face. People may be recognised using real-time facial recognition technology or still images and videos. FaceID, which is used to unlock iPhones, has made facial recognition well known (however, this is only one application of face recognition).

Typically, face recognition works by comparing selected facial features from images within a database or data repository. It captures analyzes and examines patterns based on an individual’s facial details. The face match process verifies if two faces belong to the same person.

The photographs on the watch lists can originate from anywhere, including our social media accounts, and they can show anyone, including those not suspected of any crime.

How Does Facial Recognition Technology Work?

Facial recognitions work by comparing a selected facial feature from an image containing faces in a database. Facial recognition can also be described as a biometric artificial intelligence that is based on applications that can identify a person by simply identifying a person by running an analysis based on the person’s facial texture and shape. Facial recognition is used in different platforms such as in mobile phones and robotics. Some of the common ways in which facial recognition technology is used are discussed below:

Face detection

The camera can identify and locate whether a face is alone or among a group of people. The subject may be shown facing directly ahead or in profile.

Face analysis

The face is then photographed and examined after that. Most face recognition technology uses 2D rather than 3D photographs since it is easier to match a 2D image with existing data or public photos. The computer reads your face’s geometry.

The distance between your eyes, the depth of your eye sockets, the space between your forehead and chin, the form of your cheekbones, and the shape of your lips, ears, and chin are all important considerations.

Converting the image to data

Based on the subject’s facial traits, the face capture procedure converts analogue information (a face) into a collection of digital information (data). The examination of your face is reduced to a mathematical formula. The faceprint is a numerical code. Every person has their own faceprint, just like every thumbprint is different.

Finding a match

Then, a database of other recognised faces is used to compare your faceprint. The FBI, for instance, has access to up to 650 million images pulled from various state databases.

Any image tagged with a name on Facebook is added to Facebook’s database, which is also capable of face recognition. A decision is made if your faceprint matches a picture in a facial recognition database.

The most natural biometric measurement is regarded to be face recognition. This makes intuitive sense given that we usually recognise ourselves and other people by looking at their faces rather than their thumbprints or irises. According to estimates, facial recognition frequently interacts with more than half of the world’s population.

basic steps in facial recognition technology

Usage of Facial Recognition Technology

There are several uses for facial recognition technology. These consist of:

Unlocking phones

Face recognition is a feature that many phones, including the most current iPhones, employ to unlock the phone. The technology provides a solid method to secure personal information and guarantees that important information stays inaccessible if the phone is stolen.

According to Apple, the likelihood of a random face unlocking your phone is one in one million.

Legal action

The application of facial recognition has proliferated in security systems and surveillance systems. The police are now using these technologies to match the faces of criminals. According to a recent NBC article, the use of technology by law enforcement organisations in the US and other nations is growing. Police gather mug shots from suspects after an arrest and cross-reference them with national, state, and local facial recognition databases.

Once an arrestee’s photograph has been taken, it will be stored in databases and examined each time police conduct another criminal investigation. Additionally, mobile face recognition enables law enforcement officials to photograph a motorist or a pedestrian on the street using smartphones, tablets, or other portable devices and then instantly compare that image to one or more face recognition databases to make an identification attempt.

Airports, Border Security

Facial recognition is already commonplace in numerous airports all around the world. A growing percentage of travellers have biometric passports, which enable them to bypass the typically lengthy lineups and proceed directly to the gate by passing through an automated ePassport control.

Airports may increase security and reduce waiting times by using facial recognition. By 2023, 97% of travellers will be subject to face recognition, according to the US Department of Homeland Security. The technology is used to improve security at major events like the Olympics and at airports and border crossings.

Lowering criminality in stores

When known shoplifters, organised retail criminals, or those with a history of fraud enter establishments, they can be recognised using facial recognition technology. Loss prevention and retail security specialists can alert customers who could pose a threat to enter the store by matching photographs of individuals against massive databases of offenders.

Enhancing the Shopping experience

The use of technology has the potential to enhance consumer shopping experiences. For instance, in-store kiosks might identify customers, recommend products based on their past purchases, and properly send them. By using “face pay” technology, customers may be able to bypass lengthy checkout queues.


Face recognition also has the advantage of biometric internet banking. Customers can authorise transactions by glancing at their computer or smartphone in place of one-time passwords. There are no passwords for hackers to steal using face recognition.

by law inforcement facial recognition technology

In theory, “liveless” detection, which determines whether the source of a biometric sample is a live human being or a phoney representation, should stop hackers from utilising your photo database for impersonation if they manage to get their hands on it.

Advertisement and Marketing

Marketers have utilised facial recognition to improve customer experiences. For instance, the frozen pizza company DiGiorno employed facial recognition in a 2017 marketing campaign to scan partygoers’ facial expressions to determine how they felt about the food.

The media also uses facial recognition to assess how viewers react to movie trailers, TV pilot characters, and the best times to run commercials.


Facial recognition is used in hospitals to aid with patient care. Healthcare organisations are experimenting with face recognition to access patient information, speed up patient registration, identify particular genetic illnesses, and even assist patients in expressing emotions and suffering. To make sure that patients take their medication as directed, AiCure has created an app that uses face recognition.

Monitoring Employee or Student Attendance

Face recognition technology is used in several Chinese educational institutions to prevent pupils from missing classes. To verify pupils’ identities, tablets scan and compare their faces to pictures in a database. More generally, employees may check in and out of their workplaces using technology, allowing employers to keep track of attendance.

Benefits of Facial Recognition Technology

Facial recognition offers further advantages in addition to unlocking your smartphone:

More security

Governments may use facial recognition technology to track down terrorists and other criminals. Facial recognition may be used as a security technique for securing personal devices and home security cameras on a personal level.

Decreased crime

When face recognition is used, finding burglars, thieves, and trespassers is simpler. Even just knowing that facial recognition technology is in place might reduce crime, especially minor offenses. Cybersecurity has advantages in addition to physical security.

Face recognition technology may be used by businesses to access computers without passwords.

Eliminating prejudice from stop and search

Police issue stems from complaints from the public about unlawful stops and searches; face recognition technology might streamline the procedure. Face recognition technology might assist in minimise possible prejudice and lessen stops and searches on law-abiding persons by identifying suspects among crowds using an automated procedure rather than a human one.

Increased comfort

Customers won’t need to use their credit cards or cash to purchase in stores as the technology becomes more widely used. This could shorten wait times at the register. Facial recognition provides a rapid, automated, and seamless verification process because it doesn’t involve physical touches like fingerprinting or other security procedures – which is important in the post-COVID environment.

More rapid processing

Facial recognition provides advantages for businesses utilising it since it can identify faces in under a second. In a time of sophisticated hacking tools and cyberattacks, businesses want both safe and quick solutions. Quick and effective identification verification is made possible by facial recognition.

Challenges With the Facial Recognition Technology

When facial recognition technology is used in situations with a clear advantage or justification, some individuals may not mind being videotaped in public and do not object to its usage.

However, technology can elicit strong emotions from others. A few of the drawbacks or issues are:


Some people are concerned that the widespread use of face recognition technologies, video cameras, artificial intelligence, and data analytics raises the possibility of mass monitoring, limiting personal freedom.

While face recognition technology can be a powerful tool in combating crime, it also raises concerns over privacy and civil liberties. Governments and law enforcement agencies have access to vast amounts of data, and it is important to ensure that this technology is used responsibly and ethically. There is a risk that such technology could be misused to track or monitor individuals without their consent, which could have serious implications for personal privacy. As such, it is crucial that there are appropriate regulations in place to ensure that this technology is used in a manner that respects individual rights and freedoms.

Margin of error

Facial recognition data can contain errors, resulting in false accusations against innocent persons. For instance, a little adjustment to the camera position or a modification to one’s look, such as a new hairdo, might result in inaccuracy.

Violation of Privacy

The most divisive issue is one of ethics and privacy. Governments have been known to store the images of a number of persons without their permission. To protect people from improper use, some nations have implemented laws, guidelines, or limits relating to facial recognition technology.

One of the most significant pieces of facial recognition technology law is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of the European Union. Utilising face recognition technology to safeguard people’s privacy is impacted by this rule of law. A person’s personal information cannot be obtained from them without their agreement, according to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). In order to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation, facial recognition technology for security needs to be restricted to certain people and used to validate a person’s identity.

Enormous data storage

Facial recognition technology’s success relies heavily on the quality of data used to train the algorithms. This means that data storage infrastructure is critical for the successful implementation of facial recognition software. While large corporations may have the resources to collect and store vast amounts of data, small and medium-sized businesses may struggle to keep up with the necessary storage requirements, which could limit their ability to benefit from the technology.


Facial recognition technology has become an increasingly prevalent tool in our modern society, offering both exciting benefits and complex challenges. From unlocking our smartphones with a simple glance to enhancing security measures at airports, this innovative technology has significantly impacted various aspects of our lives. However, it is crucial to acknowledge the profound implications that arise from such advancements.

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Raj Maurya

Raj Maurya is the founder of Digital Gyan. He is a technical content writer on Fiverr and When not working, he plays Valorant.

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