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FaceFirst launches image-blurring privacy feature for facial recognition systems


In a bid to restore some anonymity to individuals within face recognition systems, FaceFirst has unveiled its new Mask-ID privacy feature, which the company says blurs facial images without affecting match accuracy.

Mask-ID is a result of FaceFirst’s Privacy by Design development methodology, as is its role-based data access, enterprise-level encryption and regular facial data purging intervals, according to the announcement. The company says face recognition solutions also protect privacy compared to traditional video surveillance systems by temporarily storing video clips containing face images and matching them against templates stored in a database.

“Mask-ID is a testament to our privacy principles,” said Peter Trepp, CEO of FaceFirst. “While our technology fully encrypts all data, our mission will always be to improve the privacy and security of biometric surveillance as a whole. With Mask-ID, FaceFirst has further enhanced protections against rogue operators and breaches, and we will continue to innovate and adapt to lead the industry in protecting individual privacy.”


Trepp recently told Biometric Update that retailers using facial recognition are motivated to treat customer’s information properly and respectfully in order to build trust, and ultimately grow their business. He also said in August that FaceFirst’s technology has been deployed to hundreds of retail locations, and will be in thousands soon.

“Mask-ID is an important step forward by FaceFirst to provide shoppers with greater privacy than traditional surveillance,” says Randy Salley, President of Salley LLC, a management consulting group, and former SVP of Retail Technology at Walmart. “With innovations like Mask-ID, shoppers can expect their anonymity to be protected with an enhanced security layer, while retailers are still empowered to instantly identify individuals who pose a potential threat to retail shrink, shoppers, or employees.”

The Mask-ID feature is generally available with the most recent version of FaceFirst’s platform.

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