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Video surveillance and face recognition systems have become the subject of increased interest and controversy after the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States. In favor of face recognition technology, there is the lure of a powerful tool to aid national security. On the negative side, there are fears of an Orwellian invasion of privacy. Given the ongoing nature of the controversy, and the fact that face recognition systems represent leading edge and rapidly changing technology, face recognition technology is currently a major issue in the area of social impact of technology. We analyze the interplay of technical and social issues involved in the widespread application of video surveillance for person identification.
Date of Publication: Spring 2004