THE GUERRILLA ANGEL REPORT — I’m quite sure the potentially dangerous implication of face recognition technology for trans people has crossed our minds a number of times and off the top of my head, I can think of a number of scenarios where the technology unintentionally outs a trans person. But before we can think about this further, it’s getting a real world test in the UK and trans advocates there have sounded an alarm.
UK retailer Tesco is installing face recognition technology at their fueling stations in order to target advertising based on their ages and gender as they wait at their stations.
Trans activist Tara Hewitt is speaking out and warning people that such a scheme can out trans people as they wait to pay for their purchases — sometimes leading to dangerous circumstances, including harassment and violence. In addition, she says the misgendering by a machine could trigger emotional distress and or depression.
Tesco has responded to Hewitt and says the device will be correct ‘most of the time’ but admits there will be occasional mistakes. Tesco is still planning to go ahead with the program. Other retailers in the UK have considered the idea but choose to not go forward with it.
I don’t think “most of the time” is good enough. Being outed by a machine is stuff nightmares are made of. Is it going to take a beating captured on Tesco’s own surveillance cameras before the we see action? Or is this unstoppable technology resulting in another thing we need to protect ourselves from being harmed from?
THE GUERRILLA ANGEL REPORT is associated with Wipe Out Transphobia: http://www.wipeouttransphobia.com/
Read Lexie Cannes in The Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/courtney-odonnell/