Americans mostly in favor of facial recognition at public events: poll

May 2, 2013 - 

Based on a new CNN/Time/Orc poll, Americans have indicated they are particularly worried about the government snooping in on their digital communications, but are mostly in favor of facial recognition technologies.

From the report, 59% oppose email and cell phone surveillance (up 13% from 2006), but 79% are in favor of using facial recognition at various locations and public events and 81% support expanded camera surveillance on streets and in public places.

These findings come shortly after the United States’ most recent brush with terrorism, in which two bombs were exploded at the Boston Marathon, and an intense day-long manhunt that left one suspect dead and another in hospital. At this point, many of the details are still vague as to what occurred or why, but surveillance cameras played a crucial role in identifying the two brothers suspected to have carried out the bombing.

It has since been reported that facial recognition did not play a role in identifying the Tsarnaev brothers – the two accused of the attack – though images from CCTV cameras were used to identify the suspects.

A recent feature explored the use of facial recognition in identifying suspects in the aftermath of an event like the Boston bombing, though obvious limitations like pose, pixel density and resolution complicate identification when subjects are not looking at the camera and the camera capturing the images records in a low resolution.

According to Paul Schuepp, CEO of Animetrics, a firm that specializes in facial recognition, “You really need to get upwards of 65 pixels between the eye centers, for enough resolution to give you a good statistical comparison.”

Reported previously in, IMS Research has projected that worldwide revenue for the video-surveillance market will reach $US20.5 billion in 2016, up 114 percent from US$9.6 billion in 2012, though the firm believes this figure could rise even further, taking into account recent events like the Boston bombing.

Leave a Comment


About Adam Vrankulj

Adam Vrankulj is an editor for His background consists of online news writing, editing and content marketing. Adam has written for, BlogTO and was the editor and curator for the nextMEDIA and CIX Source publications. He has a degree in journalism and is passionate about science, technology and social innovation. Contact Adam, or follow him at @adamvrankulj