What is it?
Facial recognition is a way to verify a person's identity based on their face. A camera detects a face. Then it measures all kinds of points on the face, this is called a biometric scan. Think of the distance between the eyes, distance from forehead to chin, shape of the jawline, outline of lips and ears. This data is converted into a code. This code is compared with other code in a database to see if there is a match. This is not always flawless.
Of all the modern technologies, facial recognition is the most far-reaching. You walk, as it were, with a bar code on your face. You can no longer walk anonymously through the city.
Biometric data is a special personal data in the AVG that can only be used with consent. The EU is working on regulations around facial recognition in public spaces. But in the meantime, there are already hundreds of millions of faces in databases. There is no transparency about that at all. Often these are photos taken from the internet. Without your permission. The most notorious database is that of the company ClearView, which contains over 10 billion (!) photos of faces. Photos that have been taken from social media and websites. You can be sure that yours are among them.
What can it mean for a sex worker?
Sex workers are forced to upload a picture of their face to certain advertising platforms. Knowing that the prosecution can seize this database. It is possible that sex workers are also in the police database Catch. Facial recognition is an extremely invasive technology, and for sex workers and other stigmatized and marginalized groups this is even more true.
Maybe you still trust the government, but unfortunately facial recognition can also contribute to stalking sex workers, because through facial recognition identity can be known more quickly. Facial recognition could be the single greatest threat to our (sex workers') privacy.
Right now, facial recognition is off when you search a picture of a person in Google.
What can you do?
Ask yourself if you want to be on the site with a recognizable face. You could also blur your face. Then take a screenshot of the photo (to prevent de-blurring). You can find simple apps to blur in the App store or the Play store.
Ask yourself which platforms you want to advertise on. Especially whether you want to agree to the online identification process where you have to send in a picture of your face. There are also websites that can screen well without using your face.