Your Right To Privacy Vs. Computer Vision

Today, Computer Vision applications really affect our life. When we use our phone’s camera, we use computer vision. When we are walking on the street or in a shopping mall or a supermarket, Computer Vision detects and watches us. It also helps doctors to find our disorders and saves our life. Computer Vision is used in safety and medicine, also it is on our mobile phones and personal computers, and everywhere is seen and recorded by cameras and computers. So it concerns people that this growth in Computer Vision and number of cameras violates our right to privacy. With help of facial recognition, companies and governments can learn everything we do and where we are everytime. There are some solutions to these concerns for users, for developers and for governments.

User Solutions

As users of computers and the internet we should try to preserve our right to privacy. We should know what Computer Vision is and what it can do. After having enough information, we can decide what to do. There are 3 ways you can approach this problem.

  1. Hiding: You can physically cover your computer’s camera.
  2. Localize: You can decide not to use cloud systems and social media. You just store your photos in your physical hard disk. It is safer but you can lose your information.
  3. Trust: You can just trust your cloud server and internet. And you should now or decide which services you will trust. 

Developer Solutions

Some of the user's solutions for privacy problems are not enough for preserving their right to privacy and some of them are preventing users from using technology. So leaving the solution to the users is not a good way to solve that problem. Developers of Computer Vision applications should develop the applications in a way that respects people's right to privacy. And also the companies should provide trustable solutions for users to make them use their product.

  1. Camera Design: Camera’s of users can have low resolution so that it can not detect people’s identity. Or It can have smart algorithms that don't give private information to cloud and internet services. 
  2. Not Capturing: Some Computer Vision companies use algorithms that detect human faces but not capture it. It preserves people’s right to privacy. 

Government Solutions

People may trust companies that use solutions for privacy problems. But some companies may pretend that they are respectful to the right to privacy but they aren’t. Or some company’s preventions may not be enough. Governments should protect their citizen’s right to privacy. Governments should make laws about that problem. There are some examples:

  1. Banning Facial Recognitions: It should be banned to recognize faces for some applications. For example many states in the U.S. had banned facial recognition for police body cameras. It is good for protecting privacy but on the other hand body cameras can help police to identify criminals and ensure public safety.
  2. Making Laws and Protocols: Governments should make laws that prevent companies from stealing our information. There should be protocols for different types of applications to keep people’s data safe. Officers should inspect companies and companies should obey the rules.


Doğukan AKAR 
Undergraduate in Bogazici University Computer Engineering


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