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Facial recognition has been championed for keeping data safe - but some targeting practices are making customers uneasy

There's been a lot of buzz lately around facial recognition technology, an artificial intelligence system that identifies individuals by comparing 2D or 3D images from a digital photo or video frame with pre-stored images in a database. Given that security concerns are top of mind in 2020, the prospect of identifying criminals and preventing security fraud is particularly attractive to customers. 

However, not everyone shares the sentiment that this technology is a net positive, and this might have to be considered on a case-by-case basis. For instance, 59% of U.S. adults surveyed by Pew Research Center said it was acceptable for law enforcement to use facial recognition tech to assess security threats in public spaces, but just 15% said the same for advertisers seeing how people respond to public ad displays.

Acceptable Facial Recognition Uses

Is facial recognition ultimately protecting customers, and which tactics may be exposing them to unnecessary risk? eMarketer shares crucial insights on how biometric marketing is being used today and how to best leverage this technology in the future.

  • Efforts by big tech companies to popularize AI concepts are opening the door for innovative applications, such as health and safety efforts. Toyota recently introduced the idea of analyzing drivers' facial expressions for signs of distress to trigger an autonomous response from vehicles to prevent accidents.
  • Mobile devices are expected to play an important role in the growth of facial identification technology, as annual global mobile biometric market revenues are projected to reach $50.6 billion by 2022, up from $26.2 billion in 2019.
  • Facial recognition is useful for marketers hoping to capture emotional reactions that users might not normally talk about, but customers will avoid sharing their personal information when used for targeting purposes construed as invasive or for personal gain.
  • Patents for companies like IBM and Microsoft reveal that this technology isn't going anywhere soon, but focus will remain on law enforcement, security, access control, and securing biometric payments to keep churn at a minimum and customer concerns at bay.

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