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Together, the facial data points create a "face-print" that, like a fingerprint, is unique to each individual.Some faces are described as open books; at a glance, a person can be "read." Face recognition technology makes that metaphor literal.At the counter-terrorism center, police and private security personnel monitor more than 4,000 surveillance cameras and license plate readers mounted around the Financial District and surrounding parts of Lower Manhattan.

With funding from a coalition of face recognition businesses, SIBA launched in February 2014 to "educate folks about the reality of biometrics, bridging the gap between Washington and the industry," says Kephart, who previously worked as a counsel to the 9/11 Commission.

"The Department of Homeland Security hasn't done anything on this for 16 years.

By identifying individuals, it can prevent people from being where they shouldn't be.

Yet the profusion of biometrics creates an inescapable security net with little privacy and the potential for serious mistakes with dire consequences.

Facebook already uses face recognition to recommend which friends to tag in your photos. Today's laws don't protect Americans from having their webcams scanned for facial data.

Face recognition systems have two components: an algorithm and a database.

The controversial company also brags that its product can identify sex offenders on sight.

As the scale of face recognition grows, there's a chance it could take its place in the technological landscape as seamlessly as the i Phone.

And that's just the beginning of what face recognition technology might mean for us in the digital era.

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