Americans are in favor of facial recognition to deter terrorism, violent crime

February 7, 2018

The majority of Americans are in favor of facial recognition as a means of preventing crime at stadiums, in airports and within other public spaces, according to findings of a poll commissioned by FaceFirst and released on February 6.

The poll, conducted on behalf of the Los Angeles-based facial recognition provider by Survey Monkey, asked a national sample of 1,008 adults of varying ages and income levels their opinions on surveillance, public safety and face recognition—finding that:

  • 54% of Americans plan to use face recognition to protect their personal data or already own a device that uses face recognition;
  • Nearly two-thirds (64%) of respondents think that security personnel guarding airports, concerts, sporting events and other public areas should be allowed to use face recognition to help recognize terrorists and prevent crime; and
  • 77% of Americans think that security personnel guarding airports and tourist attractions are not likely to remember the names and faces of potential terrorists on a watch list without face recognition

In addition to increasing personal use of face recognition for privacy protection, public safety fears also appear to be influencing public opinion. The survey found that nearly nine in ten (89%) Americans think it’s likely that a terrorist or mass shooter will attack a concert, sporting event or airport over the next 12 months. In addition, 73% reported that they would feel less safe if cameras were removed from airports.

“When it comes to preventing crime and terrorism, the vast majority of Americans are in favor of technology that makes public spaces more secure,” stated FaceFirst CEO Peter Trepp. “By implementing face recognition, stadiums, airports and tourist attractions can provide customers with an additional layer of security that’s both wanted and needed in these uncertain times.”

Research contact: @williamtyree

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