What is Facial Recognition and how does it works?

Facial recognition refers to a biometric identification method used for verifying the identity of people, with different characteristic points on the face that partly appear in a photo or video image. Algorithmic processing is conducted on the digital picture information from the static image or video. It recognizes characteristic points on the face and compares them with previous records put into a database. It is increasingly becoming common, with new uses of it being invented each day. In general, static digital images and videos are clearer and easier for matching software and algorithms to pick out distinct people and faces than they benefit from better data sources or accuracy.

The use of this biometrics in facial recognition and data is also increasingly becoming part of commercial identification, involving targeting and personalizing sales and marketing messages. Even further involvement in the area is the automatic image indexing, human-technology interaction, and even video surveillance systems. Advancements in this technology are regularly taking place with a great increment.

Facial recognition software is part of this broader field of biometric security technology. Other types of biometric software include those that use voice recognition and fingerprint recognition, plus eye retina/iris recognition. It is used largely for security and police applications, but recently there has been rising interest from other areas for the use of this technology.

How facial recognition works. – Face Analysis

Facial recognition systems (FRS) are actually high-grade software that helps the concerned person in identifying or verifying the identity of another individual via a video, image or digital photograph. Facial recognition systems can vary, but in general, they tend to operate as follows:

1. Face detection: For any of the images or video frames, firstly the faces are detected by the system. Generally, the algorithms that are designed to detect specific facial features including the eyes, nose, and mouth are used at this particular step.

2. Feature Extraction: By the time the face is detected, the system then extracts certain important features like wrinkle patterns around the mouth. These characteristics are converted into a unique mathematical form, representing a special case of “facial signature.”

3. Finding a match: The extracted facial signature is matched against a known database of people. This known database can belong to any organization, or it can even be a national government database.

4. Identification/Verification: From every similarity score that comes out of extracted facial features and exists in the known database, the system will make a classification of whether it recognizes the individual (identification) or verifies if he is who he says he is (verification).

Facial recognition system provides a powerful option for people’s identification and authentication. Indeed, relying on the opportunity to scrutinize facial features meticulously while comparing them with the existing database, FRS may provide not only effective control over boundaries and other facilities but also facilitate daily activities like unlocking a smartphone. However, it will be central that such ethical implications and potential biases be recognized in its emphasis on development, deployment, and regulation responsibly to guarantee privacy, fairness, and ethical use.

Facial recognition technology (FRT) – Techniques based on algorithms

It utilizes various techniques based on algorithms including: 

Machine Learning: Imagine a student of face reading who is studying hundreds of thousands of faces. Well, this is how this technology works; the goal is to extract features from a database of hundreds of thousands of images of faces to find, say, key parameters like the spacing of eyes or the shape of a jawline.

Computer Vision: This then goes one step further by comparing the extracted features with existing databases in much the same way a detective compares the clues with his inferences. It even goes further in aiding the deduction of a “facial signature” and making that match against the face.

Authentication by facial recognition or face detection. Biometric security system. Cybersecurity tech concept. Business and technology

Deep learning: This marks the far-off step from the primitive system in that, with this advanced heuristic algorithm, they are trained independently with extreme datasets of faces to recognize complex patterns more.

Application of facial recognition technology

In general, Application areas of facial recognition systems are as follows:


FRS has the potential to help ensure places have tight security. It could be used to verify someone’s identity when allowing people into buildings to make sure only approved individuals gain access. FRS may also help log which devices belong to certain people for identification purposes. By using facial recognition, locations can screen who enters and exits more effectively than other methods. This could benefit places seeking to carefully monitor who is on the premises like government buildings or private businesses with confidential information. FRS provides an additional layer of personal identification when used with security systems to help restrict access solely to authorized individuals.

Phone locking

There are different forms of phones, including the most recent androids, iPhones, are applying face recognition while they are being unlocked. It provides a potent way of securing individual personal data, ensuring sensitive data would be unavailable if the phone was stolen. According to Apple, the chance for a random face unlocking your phone is roughly 1 in 1 million.

Law enforcement

Facial recognition made the most popular by law enforcement, is surging with the police across the US; as this article at NBC reports, it’s so in other countries too. Besides, police in the US usually collect mug shots from their arrestees and compare them against local, state, and federal face recognition databases. Most of these faces will have been added when most will be scanned whenever police carry out another criminal search.

Mobile face recognition, in addition, gives power to officers for the ability to take a photo of a driver or pedestrian in the field using a smartphone, a tablet, or another portable device and have an instantaneous comparison with one or more face recognition databases to try and come up with identification.

Finance and Banking

While walking through an office lobby, diverse group of business professionals are identified by facial recognition technology, The information includes personal as well as professional information.

Clients get to verify his or her financial transactions at any moment, just by looking at a phone or computer for a second. Biometrics got even more secure with facial recognition, since it does not require log-in credentials that can be stolen by cyber thieves. In the same vein, some cash machine withdrawals and store self-checkout counters may use facial recognition for the transaction. Transactions are so streamlined that just a passing glance is necessary to complete the purchase. Hackers have nothing to steal like passwords, since identification depends on unique facial features. These conveniences for customers are being embraced by financial institutions and retailers all the while boosting protection of sensitive information.

Advantages of facial recognition system

The most common advantages of facial recognition systems are:

Increased Security: In addition to more efficient access control and easier identification of sought after persons, this will further simplify security checks at even more points.

Higher Efficiency: Faster ID verification, providing tailored customer experience, and increasingly quicker investigative processes could become possible through FR. Endorsement: In healthcare and catering for alternative access methods for further accessibility, particularly to offer keys to smartphone addicts among young adult populations.

Quicker processing: This face recognition process takes only a second, which is an advantage for the companies that pay for this technology. In times of cyber-attacks and state-of-the-art tools for hacking, companies need technologies that are safe as well as swift. Facial recognition helps in providing this fast and efficient mode for the check of identification of a person.

Disadvantages of facial recognition system

Some of these issues generally posed concerns for ethicists in facial recognition technology development. These issues include:

Privacy concerns: Serious privacy concerns regarding individuals and mass surveillance are increased due to the wide usage of the technology.

Bias & discrimination: Such algorithms may be distorted, subjective, and even worse present themselves in incorrect or discriminatory outcomes.

High vulnerabilities leading to safety risks: Catastrophic is just not the right accompanying phrase. It could be a major disadvantage of this system.

Job Losses: Increased use of facial recognition software may automate jobs currently performed by humans.

Facial Recognition Cameras and Apps

High-tech cameras equipped with facial recognition software allow for an image to be taken and a face at that location to be identified in real-time. They are most commonly observed under settings of security, points of control, or public places.

Facial recognition phone apps are also gaining popularity among the new technology addicts and come with various features, from the ease of unlocking your phone to securing a particular app to even making payments. However, they are potential privacy threats and should be used with prudence.

Other types of biometric identification technology

It is the one that identifies individuals based on unique and distinguishable characteristics. Apart from recognizing human faces, some other biometric identification takes place:

Fingerprints detection

Fingerprint recognition refers to a biometric method used for confirming the identity of an individual by comparing his fingerprint with one of many others stored in a database system.

DNA matching

DNA matching can be very useful in identification because such technology analyzes some segments to come out with results useful for identifying an individual from them. Accordingly, it sequences the DNA in a lab and compares the data with what is found in a database of samples.

Eye recognition

The main principle behind eye recognition is the analysis of characteristics in a human iris or patterns of the veins in the eye retina to get a match to identify an individual.

Voice recognition

Voice recognition systems extract the factors that tend to be restricted to a particular individual from an individual’s speech characteristics compared to any other individual. It creates a voiceprint that is much like a fingerprint or faces print and matches it to samples in a database.

Signature authentication

It may analyze handwriting style by technology or may compare two scanned signatures using advanced algorithms.


Facial recognition systems are features that help in-person identification by their faces and offer a promising way forward for security and commercial usage. In attempts to relieve these problems and ensure the practice of ethical responsibilities, careful execution is key. In this option, there exists another biometric technology of iris and fingerprint scanning with their specific advantages and disadvantages. As such, this system’s accuracy and ease of use are practical, yet the wide dispersion is such that it requires social reflection for realization and the establishment of stringent restrictions with ethical guidelines to guarantee the exclusion of abuse. Responsible progress within biometric identification technologies insists upon a balance that is struck between innovation impulses and principled concerns.