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“There are still safeguards in France in terms of biometric data”

DFor more than a century, the question has been raised as to how far the objective of guaranteeing the security of people does not, or not too much, infringe on their freedom and their private life. Facial recognition technology is once again reviving the debate.

Today, in a context of terrorist threat, but also of certain anxiety-provoking rhetoric, guaranteeing the safety of citizens is at the heart of public and electoral concerns. This represents an opportunity for manufacturers, who are developing increasingly effective tools for security surveillance, such as those for facial recognition.

Authenticate, identify

Based on biometric techniques – which allow to extract physical, biological and behavioral characteristics of an individual, this technology consists in filming or photographing a person to constitute a template, that is to say his biometric signature. Most of the uses of facial recognition today are aimed at authenticating or identifying people.

To do this, we must be able to match an image captured in real time to a template saved in a database. This implies having access to such a database, and that it consists of images acquired under the same conditions as in the capture situation in order to allow pairing. For applications such as the recognition of people at airports, we approach, by comparing a passport photo to a photo taken at the customs counter, the 100% success rate.

“In France, automatic identification on public roads by surveillance cameras and crossing it with a database are strictly forbiddens “

But for all mobility situations (when a person is walking on the street, for example), the effectiveness of these techniques is still very limited. Because the sensors are quickly taken in default by many variations such as the rotation of the face, its expression – the face comprising 40 muscles, we imagine the number of combinatorics [regroupement de phénomènes] related to their simultaneous activation or not – lighting, hairiness, wearing a hat or glasses, makeup, etc. In such cases, error rates are observed which often reach … 100%. These sensors should evolve with the emergence of 3D technology and heat flux sensors that work thanks to the thermogram [carte thermique] facial, determined by fat, muscles and bones.

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