A blurred smiley face icon next to a question mark

 

A great media scare story of late has been horror at the potential misuse of facial recognition. Tales of possible privacy invasion have become common in mass media, as well as on the internet.

Of course, much of the speculation is simply hype, designed to play on the public's emotions and fears of a Big Brother power.

However, there are some genuine privacy concerns that do need to be thought through.

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A face icon in the style of the contrast symbol

 

When it comes down to it, a photograph is merely a collection of tiny dots that combine to make a recognizable image.

A facial detection system attempts to find patterns in these small dots. There are a number of criteria a face detection app utilizes as it searches for faces, but one aspect it looks for which impacts on this is areas of intensity and darkness.

Extremes in lighting conditions can have an enormous effect on success in detecting faces. An area that is shadowy and dark, or an area bleached out in lightness, may include a face. However from a computer's point of view, the visible shade it sees in the image is outside its programmed accepted range of facial hues. The computer will not detect a face in this situation.

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A pair of eye icons next to a question mark

 

When we talk about facial detection or facial recognition, we generally think about detecting one or more faces that are looking square at the camera. Sometimes, however, it is the situations when people are not looking at the camera that interest us most. There is often a real wish to detect glances away from the camera.

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Male and female gender symbols next to a question mark

 

At Kairos we’ve built a series of technologies that allows gender detection in live video and images. Facial biometric technology is fascinating as it frequently emulates many of things that human beings do naturally.

We all see hundreds of faces every day. In most cases, we can tell at a glance whether they represent a male's face or a female's face. But how do we do it? What is there about a person's face that gives away their gender?

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Grid of pixellated cartoon passport pictures

 

Suppose you are a researcher wanting to investigate some aspect of facial recognition or facial detection. One thing you are going to want is a variety of faces that you can use for your system. You could, perhaps, find and possibly pay hundreds of people to have their face enrolled in the system. Alternatively, you could look at some of the existing facial recognition and facial detection databases that fellow researchers and organizations have created in the past. Why reinvent the wheel if you do not have to!

Here is a selection of facial recognition databases that are available on the internet.

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