Facial recognition

Videographic on facial recognition. Moscow authorities have allocated more than $10 million to purchase and install across the city's sprawling metro system high-definition cameras that can recognise faces and track fast movements, Russian media reported Thursday. VIDEOGRAPHICS

Video Transcript

NARRATOR: Facial recognition is a biometric technology used to authenticate or identify an individual from a photograph or a facial image. The technique makes it possible to authenticate identity to check that an individual is who he or she claims to be. The image is compared to an existing image in a database.

A person can also be identified in a group, place, image, or database. From a still or from video, software generates an image based on the face's unique traits-- the base of the ears, the distance between the two pupils, the shape of the nose, eyebrows, and mouth, and even skin grain. Hair and clothes are not taken into account.

The next step is to compare the faceprint with images in the database. To reduce the margin of error, the quality of the image must be good. The face must be well lit, full face at a correct distance from the lens. Originally used to fight crime, facial recognition now has more mundane uses, such as accessing bank accounts and social media platforms. But there are worries it could also present a threat to privacy and individual liberties. The technology also raises questions about the use of databases.