When it comes to privacy, it’s typically the consumer who’s held responsible for maintaining their own privacy, not the company (take Facebook, for example). But the introduction of facial recognition into our lives could change that dynamic. Consumers’ haven’t been blindly accepting it into their lives but questioning it—and questioning it hard. The result? Companies are being pushed to take responsibility for consumers’ privacy. Which is a good thing for consumers andcompanies—it creates an opportunity for companies to foster trust with consumers and strengthen their relationships with the public at large.

Consumers Speak Out

Backlash against companies for infringing on our privacy isn’t new, but in the past it hasn’t led to tangible results. The #deletefacebook movement after Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal had hardly any impact on the company’s audience size. But with facial recognition technology, consumers are speaking up in a way that’s having serious impact. An 18-year-old is suing Apple for $1 billion after the company’s use of a facial recognition tool led to him being arrested for Apple store thefts he didn’t commit. Meanwhile, writer Mackenzie Fegan took to Twitter to call out JetBlue for using facial recognition to board customers without informing them in advance—sparking a conversation in the media about the privacy implications of facial recognition. Bottom line: consumers are questioning facial recognition in a way that’s forcing companies to listen.

Holding Companies Accountable

Technologies like facial recognition have the potential to improve our lives significantly, but as it increasingly enters our lives, we need to think about how it should be regulated, as well. The consumer backlash may lead to concrete regulatory changes—companies may soon be considered responsible for the privacy implications of the technologies they introduce. San Francisco is considering an all-out ban on facial recognition technology, as are Washington and Massachusetts. Meanwhile, the U.S senate is considering a bi-partisan bill to limit the use of such software.

Meeting Consumers Where They’re At

In many ways, this is actually a positive for companies that produce or use facial recognition software; people are taking notice of the ways that new technologies can infringe upon privacy and being proactive in addressing those problems. These regulations will push companies to listen to consumers’ concerns, build stronger relationships with them and instill trust. We’ve seen how Facebook’s behavior towards its consumers has eroded trust towards the company—their announcement to focus on privacy has been overwhelmingly met with derision. As companies focus on the privacy implications of new technologies, they’ll be able to deliver products that enhance—not invade—people’s lives.

Claiming Privacy

At Vaporstream, we strongly believe that everybody has a right to privacy. Our communications platform empowers people to communicate privately and securely without having to worry about their data being collected. To learn how we protect your privacy download our NowSecure case study today.

Contributor: The Vaporstream Team