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Iowa State Professor Weighs Benefit vs. Risk of Facial Recognition Technology


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A representation of how facial-recognition technologies work.

While facial-recognition technologies can provide great benefits to companies and consumers, privacy aspects must be considered, says Iowa State University professor Brian Mennecke.

Credit: Brian Mennecke/Iowa State University

Iowa State University professor Brian Mennecke questions whether society is ready for advanced facial-recognition technology. Although facial-recognition technology can be beneficial for both companies and consumers, "the other side of the story is really the privacy aspect," Mennecke says.

Businesses want personalized information to provide better customer service and to make the most of advertising budgets by directly targeting consumers with specific, detailed information. "If ads can be targeted, retailers can do a better job of grabbing your attention," Mennecke notes. Facial-recognition technology promises benefits for consumers if they are willing to give up some privacy.

Mennecke also worries that facial-recognition technology could result in more cases of identity theft, as well as stalking, if the information falls into the wrong hands. "If someone can use Google Glass or his cellphone to take a picture of you and use it to search for you in Facebook or on Google, then he could dig out all kinds of personal information about you while you are shopping or driving down the street," Mennecke says.

From Iowa State University News Service
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