Wait, I Didn’t Sign up for This! Or Did I…?

16 - May 2019
men wondering how to protect yourself from identity theft

Whether we are victims or facilitators – the abuse of facial recognition databases is a fact. But we can fight back.

According to reports, the average Londoner is captured on camera up to 300 times a day. While it’s true that the UK is one of the most surveilled countries in the world, the fact is that wherever we go in the developed world – on the street, in shops, in schools, at work, in cars, while travelling and even at home – we are literally under 24/7 surveillance.

The good news is that the vast majority of surveillance video captured is never actually used or seen by humans. For privacy advocates, the less good news is that an increasing portion of the countless thousands of hours of footage is analyzed and cataloged by powerful facial recognition software. And the worst news is that the potential for abuse of the petabytes of facial data collecting in data lakes across the globe is growing exponentially.

I Didn’t Sign up For This! Or Did I…

Unknowingly, many of us are actively facilitating the growing role facial recognition plays in our lives. We use our faces to log into our mobile devices and sign onto social media, because it’s so convenient. We check the “Agree” box and allow marketers to use our faces to target us with in-store messages and deals.

And this is what NBC News calls facial recognition’s “dirty little secret” – it’s constantly misused. It’s so bad that regulators had to step in – enacting strict privacy laws like GDPR, with which companies worldwide are now scrambling to comply with.

What’s the Problem? (or: how to protect yourself from identity theft)

One of the primary challenges in today’s privacy arena is the misuse of identified facial images legally and consensually obtained, that are stored in legitimate databases. Today, facial images can be misused by threat actors for purposes ranging from memes to outright identity theft. The thing is, once your facial image is matched with your name and PII, there’s really no going backwards.

By way of simple example: most companies keep digital personnel files that include employee headshots for identification and use on ID badges. Although these files are secured by top-tier corporate-level security, it’s no news flash that breaches occur. Once these images and their associated PII are stolen, the risk to the company of damage from false credentials is huge, the risk of liability from individuals whose identity was compromised is enormous – and the risk to the individuals themselves, whose identities are now at large, is even greater.

So, What Can be Done?

Thankfully, organizations looking to mitigate the potential regulatory and legal liability of facial recognition abuse have new technological options. Solutions like D-ID’s enable full and continuing use of digital facial images for legitimate purposes, yet make them unidentifiable to even the most advanced facial recognition engines.

This means that even in the event of a data breach, facial recognition software cannot match a D-ID-protected photo to any identity. This lowers the risk associated with breaches, as well as the overhead of protection and remediation.

D-ID enhances privacy and ensures regulatory compliance by removing unnecessary sensitive biometric data from facial images. Completely seamless and transparent, a D-ID protected photo looks no different to the human eye. Yet D-ID photos cannot be decrypted or reverse-engineered – outsmarting even the most advanced facial recognition engines.

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