go to top
Police test facial recognition technology in London. Police test facial recognition technology in London, Dec. 17, 2018 (Photo by Kirsty O’Connor for Press Association via AP Images).

The Troubling Rise of Facial Recognition Technology in Democracies

Thursday, April 23, 2020

The growing prevalence of facial recognition technology in authoritarian countries like Russia and the United Arab Emirates, which use it to monitor activists and suppress dissent, has raised increasing alarm among human rights advocates. Perhaps the most egregious example is in China, where the government has used facial recognition technology to racially profile Uighurs, a predominantly Muslim ethnic minority that is concentrated in Xinjiang province, and forcibly lock them up in internment camps. But authoritarian countries are not alone: This technology is now being harnessed for law enforcement and surveillance purposes in many democracies.

Last month, for example, India’s government announced it had used facial recognition to identify over 1,000 people who participated in deadly anti-Muslim riots in New Delhi in February. “This is a software. It does not see faith. It does not see clothes. It only sees the face and through the face the person is caught,” said the Indian home minister, Amit Shah. Meanwhile, in the United States, the American Civil Liberties Union recently sued the Department of Homeland Security over its secretive use of facial recognition at airports. ...

To read more,

enter your email address then choose one of the three options below.

Subscribe to World Politics Review and you'll receive instant access to 10,000+ articles in the World Politics Review Library, along with new comprehensive analysis every weekday . . . written by leading topic experts.