Facial Recognition: Worries About the Use of Synthetic Media

Facial Recognition: Worries About the Use of Synthetic Media

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In 2019, 4.4 billion internet users were connected to the internet worldwide, a rise of 9% from last year recorded by Global Digital 2019 report. As the world shrinks to the size of a digital screen in your palm, the relevance of AI-backed technologies can hardly be overstated. Mobile applications took over marketplaces; cloud storage replaced libraries, and facial recognition systems became the new ID. 

On the flip side, this has also exposed each one of us to a special kind of threat that is as intangible as its software of origin: the inexplicable loss of privacy. 

AI-powered surveillance, in the form of digital imprints, is a worrying phenomenon that is fast taking center stage in technology conversations. Facial recognition is now closely followed by facial replacement systems that are capable of thwarting the very basis of privacy and public anonymity. Synthetic media, in the form of digitally altered audios, videos, and images, are known to have impacted many in recent times. As the largest threat to online audiovisual content, deepfakes are going viral, with more than 10,000 videos recorded to date. 

As inescapable as facial technology seems, researchers have found a way to knock it down using adversarial patterns and de-identification software. However, the onus falls on the enablers of technology who must now outpace the rate at which preparators are learning to abuse facial recognition for their own interests. 

Trending Facial Recognition Practices 

Your face is your identity. Technically speaking, that has never been truer than it is today. 

Social media, healthcare, retail & marketing, and law enforcement agencies are amongst the leading users of facial recognition databases that stock countless images of individuals for various reasons. These images are retrieved from surveillance cameras embedded with the technology, and from digital profiles that can be accessed for security and identification purposes. 

As a highly controversial technology, facial recognition is now being subjected to strict regulation. Facebook, the multi-billion dollar social media giant, has been penalized for its facial recognition practices several times by legal authorities. Privacy Acts accuse it of misusing public data and disapprove of its data collection policies.

In popular use is Facebook’s Tag Suggestions feature using biometric data (facial scanning) to detect users’ friends in a photo. Meddling with the private affairs and interests of individual Facebook users, the face template developed using this technology is stored and reused by the server several times, mostly without consent. While users have the option to turn off face scanners at any time, the uncontrolled use of the feature exposes them to a wide range of associated threats. 

Cautions in Facial Replacement Technology


As advanced as technology may be, it has its limitations. In most cases, the accuracy of identification arises as a leading concern among critics, who point to the possibility of wrongly identifying suspects. This is especially true in the case of people of color, as the US government has found them to be wrongly identified by the best facial algorithms five to ten times higher than whites. 

For instance, a facial recognition software, when fed with a single photo of a suspect, can match up to 50 photos from the FBI database, leaving the final decision up to human officials. In most cases, image sources are not properly vetted, further dampening the accuracy of the technology underuse. 

De-identification Systems


Businesses are rapidly integrating facial recognition systems for identity authentication and customer onboarding. But while the technology itself is experiencing rampant adoption, experts are also finding a way to trick it. 

De-identification systems, as the name suggests, seek to mislead facial recognition software and trick it into wrongly identifying a subject. It does so by changing vital facial features of a still picture and feeding the flawed information to the system. 

As a step forward, Facebook’s AI research firm FAIR claims to have achieved a new milestone by using the same face replacement technology for a live video. According to them, this de-identification technology was born to deter the rising abuse of facial surveillance. 

Adversarial Examples and Deepfakes


Facial recognition fooling imagery in the form of adversarial examples also have the ability to fool computer vision systems. Wearable gear such as sunglasses has adversarial patterns that trick the software into identifying faces as someone else, as found by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University. 

A group of engineers from the University of KU Leuven in Belgium has attempted to fool AI algorithms built to recognize faces, simply by using some printed patterns. Printed patches on clothing can effectively make someone virtually invisible for surveillance cameras.

Currently, these experiments are limited to specific facial software and databases, but as adversarial networks advance, the technology and expertise will not be limited to a few hands. In the current regulatory scenario, it is hard to say who will win the race: the good guys who will use facial recognition systems to identify criminals or the bad guys who will catch on to the trend of de-identification and use it to fool even the best of technology? 

AI researchers of the Deepfake Research Team at Stanford University have delved deeper into the rising trend of synthetic media and found existing techniques such as erasing objects from videos, generating artificial voices, and mirroring body movements, to create deepfakes. 

This exposure to synthetic media will change the way we perceive news entirely. Using artificial intelligence to deceive audiences is now a commonly learned skill. Face swapping, digital superimposition of faces on different bodies, and mimicking the way people move and speak can have wide-ranging implications. The use of deepfake technology has been seen in false pornography videos, political smear campaigns and fake news scares, all of which have damaged the reputation and social stability. 



Humans Ace AI in Detecting Synthetic Media


The unprecedented scope of facial recognition has opened up a myriad of problems. Technology alone can’t win this war. 

Why Machines Fail 


Automated software can fail to detect a person entirely, or display improper results because of tweaked patterns in a deepfake video. Essentially, this happens because the machines and software understand faces can be exploited.

Deep learning mechanisms, that power facial recognition technology, extract information from large databases and look for recurring patterns in order to learn to identify a person. This entails measuring scores of data points on a single face image, such as calculating distance between pupils, to reach a conclusion.

Cybercriminals and fraudsters can exploit this weakness by blinding facial recognition software to their identity without having to wear a mask, thereby escaping any consequence whatsoever. Virtually anything and everything that uses AI solutions to carry out tasks are now at risk, as robots designed to do a specific job can easily be misled into making the wrong decision. Self-driving cars, bank identification systems, medial AI vision systems, and the likes are all at serious risk of being misused. 

Human Intelligence for Better Judgement


Currently, there is no tool available for accurate detection of deepfakes. As opposed to an algorithm, it is easier for humans to be prepared to detect altered content online and be able to stop it from spreading.  An AI arms race coupled with human expertise will discern which technological solutions can keep up with such malicious attempts. The latest detection techniques will, therefore, need to include a combination of artificial and human intelligence. 

By this measure, artificial intelligence reveals undeniable flaws that stem from the abstract analysis that it relies on. In comparison, human comprehension surpasses its digital counterpart and identifies more than just pixels on a face. 

As a consequence, the use of hybrid technologies, offered by leading identification software tackles this issue with great success. Wherever artificially learned algorithms fail, humans can promptly identify a face and perform valid authentications. 

In order to combat digital crimes and secure AI technologies, we will have to awaken the detective in us. Being able to tell a fake video from a real one will take real judgment and intuitive skills, but not without the right training. Currently, we are not equipped to judge audiovisual content, but we can learn how to detect doctored media and verify content based on source, consistency, confirmation, and metadata. 

However, as noticed by privacy evangelists and lawmakers alike, the necessary safeguards are not built into these systems. And we have a long way to go before relying on machines for our safety. 


Facial Recognition Technology – Behind The Curtains

Facial Recognition Technology – Behind The Curtains

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Business competition has made security technology critical. There are many innovative security technologies, but facial recognition technology is perhaps most productive in this regard. It is a low budget technology that greatly improves security. It’s the fastest and most widely used biometric authentication system.

Facial Recognition Technology and How Does It Work?

Face verification has been widely used in many ways, whether to solve a crime or open doors. It has always been in fiction and Sci-Fi movies. It’s verily the fastest biometric technology with the purpose of identification of human faces.

The mathematical algorithms of biometric facial recognition follow several stages of image processing, which are:

  • Capture: The first step is to collect a sample of physical or behavioral conditions during a given time period.
  • Extraction: After this, all the gathered data should be extracted from samples to create templates based on them.
  • Comparison: After the extraction, the collected data is compared with the existing templates.
  • Matching: The last step of face detection technology is to make a decision based on whether the facial features of a new sample are matching with the one from a facial database or not. It usually takes just seconds.

Face Verification Technology- Good or Bad?

Technologies are not always accepted and welcomed so is the case of face recognition technology. The use of facial recognition technology has already triggered a heated debate on whether it’s necessary to combat crime or an unlawful breach of privacy. People on one side enjoy how it has eased their lives in many ways, on the other, they have concerns about their data being misused.

Pros of Face Verification

Integration Process is Easy

Most times, face recognition tools work flawlessly with the existing security software that companies have installed. And they’re also easy to program for interaction with a company’s computer system. Why is it great for business? Businesses won’t need to spend extra money and time on redeveloping their own software to make it suitable for Face Recognition Technology integration. Everything will be already adaptable.

High Accuracy

These days, the success level of face verification technology became higher than before. Thanks to the assistance of 3D facial recognition technologies the process of identification happens to be incredibly accurate and showing great results. It’s possible but difficult to fool it. Accuracy promises that there will not be any misunderstandings that come from bad face recognition software. 

No Contact Required

Face recognition is now lodged over fingerprint scanning because it does not require any contact process. People don’t have to worry about the potential drawbacks related to fingerprint identification technology, such as dirty hands. 

Robust and Fast

With the ever-increasing demand for speed and growing number of cyberattacks, having fast and accurate technology is key. Facial recognition technology provides quick and convenient verification. It is very difficult to fool face recognition technology, which prevents scams.

Full Automation

Manual recognition is done by security guards or the official representatives outside the company’s premises. Whereas the facial recognition tech automates the identification process and ensures it is errorless every time. You won’t even need an employee to monitor the cameras 24/7. Automation means convenience and reduces the expenses too. 

Cons of Facial Recognition Technology

High Costs Required

It requires top-quality cameras and advanced software which obviously are expensive. However, there are predictions that technological advancements are likely to reduce the prices of facial recognition systems in the future. 

Huge Data Storage

This technique requires video and high-quality images that take up a significant amount of storage. This leads organizations to use numerous computers to process everything and to do it quickly, which is not very convenient.

Changes in Appearance and Camera Angle

Any major changes in appearance, including weight changes or piercing, can throw off the technology. In these instances, a new picture is required because technology fails at this. A camera angle can also cause issues in identifying a face.

Facial Recognition Technology- Banned Due to Privacy Concerns

There have already been privacy concerns related to face verification technology. In recent news, according to new laws, the Victorian Government has banned schools from using facial recognition software in classrooms until or unless they have permission from parents, students and the Department of Education.

A German minister has Seek Facial Recognition for Airports and Railway Stations. The installment of such cameras and technology has received a lot of backlash from lawyers and groups that feel that it will compromise the privacy of individuals. However, the Interior Minister of Germany, Thomas de Maiziere, has strongly defended this innovation and stated that the security of public places can’t be compromised under any circumstances.

We Can’t Stop The Tide – But We Can Manage It

Face recognition software is becoming widely adopted in many sectors across the globe. Concerns related to privacy may slow down the adoption in a few areas but the tide has come in and is changing business practices across the world. But who is managing and regulating the software? The government will surely have a role but they need to be well aware of the best practices worldwide. Biometric Institute advice on best practices as well as privacy concerns.

This technology can reduce the costs of necessary compliance as well as free up our time as demonstrated by smart gates installed at airports. 

As with all new technologies, face recognition raises legitimate concerns. Constructive policies and dialog are the preferred way forward to gain the maximum benefit for society at large, and to make sure they do the least harm.

People have concerns regarding commercial face recognition technology which is quite unreliable unless the person cooperates to give his photo by standing still and looking directly at the camera like SmartGate. This is quite different from non-cooperative recognition of persons without their knowledge using surveillance cameras on which people have concerns. That is why cooperative face recognition systems are well-accepted by the public at the borders, and privacy has been carefully considered in their design.

Speed Up customer Onboarding with Online Facial Recognition

Speed Up customer Onboarding with Online Facial Recognition

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Banks are spending loads to digitize their operations. The competition is mounting, plus, people are downloading non-banking apps to buy and transfer money. This is forcing banks to compromise and share customer data with Fintech companies. But speeding things up can create security problems. Online facial recognition can help banks take customers onboard much faster without compromising security.    

What is facial recognition software?

It is a biometric software that uses facial recognition to ‘map’ a person’s face. It stores facial features as mathematical data called the faceprint.

Usually, such software uses deep learning algorithms to match a live or digital image with the saved faceprint (learn the basics of how facial recognition software work).

Google’s Image Search

With the Google image search engine, you can find matching images online. Simply go to the image search bar, click the camera icon and upload your desired image. Searching this way will show you the matching or similar images.

Facial Recognition can help Banks Get More Customers

Financial regulatory authorities want banks and similar firms to onboard only those individuals that they know.

This knowledge has a technical meaning. For instance, banks should know the profession of a person that wants to open an account or invest in a company. If illegal money is stored or transferred or invested through them, they are responsible.

Know Your Customer

Know Your Customer or KYC is a compliance process that helps banks to officially know their customers.

Although the specifics of KYC vary from industry to industry, however, the main features are;

  • Customer Acceptance Policy
  • Customer Identification Procedures
  • Monitoring of Transactions
  • Risk management

Conventional KYC requires a lot of paperwork. By making KYC electronic (e-KYC), banks can streamline the otherwise lengthy process. Naturally, the online verification of biometrics will be extremely useful here.

Which Banks are using Online Facial Recognition for Customer Onboarding?

In early 2019, New Zealand’s ASB ran a pilot project to onboard new customers online. They removed the obligation of visiting a branch. Not surprisingly, they used biometric facial recognition technology.

ASB’s technique was basic. The bank matched customer’s pictures with their uploaded driver’s license.

Spain-based France’s Boursorama Financial Services Group plans to run a similar process through its subsidiary Self Bank. The difference from ABS will be the use of video-conferencing. The basics (biometrics and electronic signatures) will be the same.

Besides big names, a huge number of Fintech firms have been using online verification for some time.

How does facial recognition Help in KYC Compliance?

Customer identification is the core of KYC. Physically, the facial recognition is performed the way the security at the airport; they match your face with the picture on your passport.  

Technology does the same but faster. You might open an account at a bank using just your phone. This would require you to open its camera and show your face, then, upload a government-issued ID.

Recognizing facial patterns, in-depth 3D sensing, detecting liveness and texture, machine learning algorithms will match your face with the one on your passport, driver’s license or other official documents.

Will online facial recognition reduce processing time?

Yes. The conventional mode requires so much paperwork. Online verification might reduce the processing time to mere minutes, especially if banks are using contemporary artificial intelligence algorithms.

Looking forward…

We want things fast. Imagine your browsing speed slows down by a mere second, you will feel it. The same goes for banking services. We want transactions today, purchased items delivered the same day if not within the next hour.  

Banks should and will be using digital face recognition in the near future on a massive scale. This will not only help accelerate onboarding new customers but it will also assist the existing customers to log in to their accounts securely.

Banks need to speed things up while maintaining due diligence. Those that will efficiently manage both will excel, the rest will bite the dust. This is why banks are either readily buying the budding Fintech companies or developing software in-house that can assist with ID data and biometrics.

Face Verification Becoming Vital For Travel Industry

Face Verification Becoming Vital For Travel Industry

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Over the past few years, biometric technology has become increasingly mainstream. This is due in part to the fact that mobile companies these days are increasingly incorporating fingerprint scanners and facial verification in their smartphones. Facial recognition systems like Face ID from Apple and Facebook’s DeepFace have made the commercialised use of face verification technology. Contrary to what people believe, biometric verification procedures are more secure and accurate. As the facial recognition technology is frequently incorporated by businesses it is important to view its advantages in detail. This article attempts to outline the ways in which the travel industry is reaping benefits from it.

The travel and hospitality sector rely heavily on customer care and fast and efficient service. Companies in the travel industry including airlines and hotel chains deal with large volumes of customers in a day. They have to maintain an efficient yet effective procedure of check-ins and check-outs without jeopardising their security. Moreover, the instant customer verification process can enable businesses to improve their experience, thus drastically increasing levels of satisfaction. Some of the ways in which the travel industry can leverage the facial recognition technology in their favour include;

Customer Service

For any business wishing to improve their sales and revenues, they have to improve their customer service and increase levels of satisfaction. The hospitality industry, in particular, has to maintain robust customer relations in order to stay in the competition. Face verification software fulfils this objective impeccably. Through facial verification online, the airline staff at the airport and the hotel check-in staff at reception desks can speed up the customer verification process. With real-time verification results, all employees can verify customers instantaneously. It can also allow the hotel staff to issue more personalised greetings to customers upon their arrival.

Read More: Online Facial Recognition Could Drive a New Wave of Digital Transparency

If the customer has already uploaded their picture at the time of booking, the online facial recognition software can be used to identify returning customers, thus allowing businesses to offer them better and more customised services. The instant check-ins and the elimination of long ques at check-in counters can be eliminated entirely, which can be often frustrating for customers.

Better Security

The primary function of facial verification technology is security. It can help identify and authenticate the identity of customers in an instant. Thus the travel and hospitality sector can greatly benefit from it, seeing as it increases the security and access for customers. The possibility of frauds like identity theft and credit card frauds increases while a person is travelling. The ultimate brunt of such scams is borne by businesses in the form of chargebacks, fines and a loss of reputation.

With the help of facial recognition, the airport staff can authenticate a traveller against their identity documents, thus enabling them to verify the identity of an individual. Biometric authentication is more secure and allows the travel industry to weed out fraudsters and scammers. Fast access can also be granted to customers through biometric identification in their hotel rooms.

Seamless Integration

Amongst all the biometric verification tools currently available in the market, facial verification probably has the most seamless integration. The technology does not require any additional hardware to be installed by either the customer or the business. If the company has the facial recognition software available, the customer can verify themselves using an ordinary phone camera that is a necessary feature of every smartphone nowadays. Thus there is no need for the development of an additional tech infrastructure in order to integrate the technology. It saves both time and costs for the hospitality sector. There is no need for them to go to the trouble of spending more on developing technology.

Fewer Documentation Requirements

Biometric technologies are eliminating the need for businesses to require elaborate documentation from customers in order for them to identify themselves. All they have to do in order to verify the identity of a customer is to corroborate their facial scans against any one of their identity documents. Biometric verification procedures reduce customer check-in times at checkpoints like passport control and boarding terminals by 40%. In hotels that are using facial verification software for customer and business verifications, the check-in times have been reduced from three minutes to one. As customers arrive in hotels, they identify themselves through the facial recognition process, and their details are entered into an automated system. They are then automatically issued room keys, thus accelerating the check-in process.

The Future of Facial Verification

While there is still a considerable amount of scepticism around the facial verification technology, its benefits are far more than its shortcomings. As technology is advancing more rapidly than ever before, it is important for businesses like the travel and hospitality sector to keep up with the changes in the landscape. More than anything, biometrics can help eliminate fraud and help companies establish safer business practices. As consumers remain wary of facial recognition technology, businesses must assure them of its safety and all the measures that they take to protect customer data.

Online Facial Recognition Could Drive a New Wave of Digital Transparency

Online Facial Recognition Could Drive a New Wave of Digital Transparency

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Online facial recognition is a much less explored territory when it comes to online identity verification and biometric authentication services. With features like anti-facial spoofing and liveness detection, facial recognition provides huge opportunities for businesses that want to ensure transparency on their online resources. There are various face recognition software available that promise impeccable performance in both onsite as well as offsite verification processes. Face recognition, working in tandem with document verification, can provide reliable identity verification service for businesses and companies that are sick of being fooled by fcial spoof attacks and frequent cases of online identity thefts.

What is Facial Recognition?

Facial Recognition technology is mainly concerned with the biological features of a person’s face and using technological algorithms to identify those features. This kind of tech comes handy for registration of first-time users or for authentication of returning users that want to access their individual accounts. In either case, a typical face recognition software checks for unique facial data that ascertains that a real person is trying to either signup or sign in on a digital platform.

How Facial Recognition Works?

Facial Recognition is a mix of various techniques that ensure the physical presence of a person in front of a computer screen or at a particular location. It also checks for attempts by online scammers to doctor facial features in order to achieve a fraudulent facial match. A technologically advanced online facial recognition system uses a combination of the following techniques:

Liveness Detection

It is the first line of defense against facial spoof attacks, with various checks put in place to ensure the physical presence of a user at the time of verification. Color textures are tested and facial images are checked for photoshop elements.

Eye Blinking – Intrinsic Face Movement 

Most of the times, a user trying to get past a facial recognition process is tested against intrinsic face movement. It is obvious that such a facial verification is performed with the help of a video stream alongwith instructions being forwarded to end-user in real-time.

Depth Mapping Algorithm

This is a highly sophisticated method to differentiate a facial image printed on a page as compared to a real-face presented for online facial recognition. A system programmatically calculates the depth of various key points around the face of a user to measure depth presence, something that will be zero for a facial image printed on a piece of paper.

3D Sensing Techniques

 These techniques incorporate depth mapping algorithm and contextual information methods to provide an improved analysis of a facial image received for verification. These techniques are better equipped at differentiating 2D images from 3D images.

Texture Detection

This online facial recognition technology comes handy to analyze smaller parts of the facial image. Each part is probed to detect facial patterns that help differentiate a real facial image from a doctored image.

How Facial Verification is the Future of Digital World? (Infographic)

Why Online Facial Recognition from Shufti Pro?

The facial Recognition process is the ultimate tool to register 100% authentic and reliable customer base without fearing about online identity theft and frequent cashback requests. There are various benefits of using a Facial Recognition system for both online and brick-and-mortar businesses.

  • Embrace Technological Advancement

It is always a nice gesture by businesses when they eagerly adopt new age technologies not only for better service delivery but for achieving improved customer satisfaction as well. Facial recognition for online businesses is especially crucial for better service standards as most of their competition is already thinking of introducing it for favorable online transparency. Only in the year 2018, nearly 100 global customers have come onboard with Shufti Pro facial recognition technology to provide their services to a transparent set of customers.

  1. No Need of Extra Hardware

Unlike conventional biometric verification services (Iris scan & fingerprint scans), online facial recognition requires no special hardware. Smartphones and Laptops are fixed with impressive cameras these days, reducing the need for a specialized hardware to perform Facial recognition.

  1. Easy to Integrate

Shufti Pro has a RestFul API and has also developed SDKs for both Android and iOS platforms to easily integrate its Facial recognition technology with that of its customers. Not a single second is wasted in downtime during the integration process. Shufti Pro’s online facial recognition works perfectly with pre-existing software, mobile applications, and web portals.

Online transparency is the need of the hour for the business world, especially for companies with a digital footprint. It enables companies to engage with their customers on a more personal level and reduces the risk of registering users with fake credentials. Online fraud prevention and identity theft protection become easier with an online facial recognition software.

Shufti Pro has to be your preferred choice when selecting an online facial recognition system as it requires little to no hassle during integration, uses Artificial Intelligence to protect against facial spoof attacks and even offers real-time verification results to its customers. With a presence in 200+ countries, Shufti Pro is ideal for businesses around the globe with a worldwide presence.

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