Face Recognition Technology: Commonly Used Terms

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As face recognition technology evolves at a dizzying speed, new uses and terminologies seem to develop daily. On this page, we attempt to define and disambiguate some of the most commonly used terms.

For more information on government use of face recognition and how to end it in your community, visit EFF’s About Face resource page.

Face detection: Determines whether an image includes a human face. Some government agencies use face detection to aid in obscuring identifiable faces before releasing video footage in response to requests for public records. As a result, many bans on government use of face recognition technology specifically exclude face detection for this purpose, provided that no information about the faces is collected or stored. Generally, this use does not raise significant privacy concerns.

Face recognition: Any collection and processing of faceprints, including both face matching and face analysis (two terms defined below). Face recognition raises significant digital rights concerns.

Faceprinting: A fundamental step in the process of face recognition, faceprinting

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