Australian view of facial recognition technology for social media split: study

Australian view of facial recognition technology for social media split: study

But vast majority support facial recognition technology being used to fight crime and protect borders

Surveillance systems are getting more sophisticated and facial recognition technology is increasingly being incorporated.

However, Australian support for the use of facial recognition technology varies depending upon the circumstances in which it is used, according to the latest Unisys Security Index.

The Unisys Security Index is a bi-annual global study that provides insights into the attitudes of consumers on a wide range of security related issues.

The national survey of 1206 adults found that 50 per cent of Australians surveyed do not support the use of facial recognition technology to make it easier for Facebook users to identity or tag friends in photos.

According to Unisys security program director, John Kendall, the research findings show that the Australian public’s support for facial recognition technology is determined by the context within which it is used.

“There is very strong support for facial recognition technology but only in circumstances that Australians deem to be appropriate, such as policing or protecting borders. There is far less support for the technology used in social media or by employers in the workplace,” he said.

The survey showed 95 per cent of respondents were in favour of using the same technology for policing or border security purposes, supporting airport customs or immigration staff using facial recognition to identify passengers on police watch-lists.

66 per cent of them agreed to employers using it to track what parts of a building staff had accessed and with whom.

Further, 92 per cent of respondents said they agreed with the use of facial recognition technology to help police identify people from security camera footage or video obtained from the public.

“It suggests that Australians are happy for new security technology to be used, but only when they can perceive a clear and substantive benefit for themselves and the broader community. When that benefit is less clear, the level of support starts to decline,” Kendall said.

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