Facial Recognition as a Security Feature

Electronic security has long been a leading concern in the technology sector. As more appliances and electronics become integrated with networking and other technology, it becomes easier and easier for hackers to break into them.

Facial recognition software, however, stands to prevent that, but is that all there is to know about this new and controversial software? Not even close.

The Invention of the Facial Recognition Database

The earliest known instance of facial recognition technology came well before the advent of the internet. In the 1960s, Woodrow Wilson Bledsoe created a form of facial recognition that relied on measuring a person’s primary identifying facial characteristics and putting them into a computer database.

When the database recognized the same measurements on the face in another photograph that was run through the system, it would show the operator the information related to the original entry.

How We Understand it Today

Bledsoe would be blown away if he were alive to see what’s become of his technology today. Not only are computers capable of instantly processing and adding new images directly to their databases, but they are also capable of matching faces much more quickly.

The computers necessary for the image processing have also become significantly smaller. In fact, they’re almost everywhere from iPhones to Androids, and security systems to home computers. If it has a camera, odds are it can be used for facial recognition.

Facial Recognition as a Security Feature or a Tool of Oppression

Popular sci-fi films such as Star Trek Into Darkness feature facial recognition as a prominent part of reality, often a security system, providing another deterrent against unauthorized access.

Unfortunately, while this technology is said to make our belongings more secure, it also has the potential to be used for much more nefarious purposes. In the Terminator franchise, terminator robots controlled by the murderous Skynet system used facial recognition software to hunt down and kill humans.

The path of modern facial recognition technology is so far split between these two paths.

As of July 2019, the U.S. Government has been caught using state driver’s license databases to facilitate spying on Americans with facial recognition technology. The popular social media site Facebook has also been implicated in illegal practices, resulting in a class-action lawsuit.

Protestors in Hong Kong have also had to contend with the government’s use of facial recognition software used to track down political dissidents.


Although the majority of famous hollywood depictions and modern media coverage of facial recognition software paints a picture of fear and pain, facial recognition software isn’t all doom and gloom.

There are plenty of ways that facial recognition might be used for good in ways that not only help improve your quality of life, but also keep you and your loved ones safe and secure. As with any tool, the uses are limited only by the hands holding the controls.

Related Articles

For a more detailed explanation of exactly how facial recognition can be used for evil, check out this article. Take a look on the bright side with this article, which provides a detailed analysis of how facial recognition is improving electronic security.