Ethical aspects of face recognition systems in public places.

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This essay examines ethical aspects of the use of facial recognition technology for surveillance purposes in public and semipublic areas, focusing particularly on the balance between security and privacy and civil liberties. As a case study, the FaceIt facial recognition engine of Identix Corporation will be analyzed, as well as its use in 'Smart' video surveillance (CCTV) systems in city centers and airports. The ethical analysis will be based on a careful analysis of current facial recognition technology, of its use in Smart CCTV systems, and of the arguments used by proponents and opponents of such systems. It will be argued that Smart CCTV, which integrates video surveillance technology and biometric technology, faces ethical problems of error, function creep and privacy. In a concluding section on policy, it will be discussed whether such problems outweigh the security value of Smart CCTV in public places.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-109
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of information, communication and ethics in society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • METIS-220664
  • IR-48878
  • EWI-742


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