CNet facial recognition camera review illustrates ubiquity of AI systems in home gear

facial recognition

Forget big brother – new facial recognition home camera reviews show the consumerization of surveillance tech, and while to some, this is “neat,” to others, it’s pretty disturbing.

Increasingly, we’re not just encountering facial recognition in airports, or public areas like schools and hospitals.

These types of advanced AI, which are said to be so useful as law enforcement resources, are also now getting built into home cameras.

Today CNET writer Megan Wollerton goes over some of the best and most affordable available facial recognition cameras for your castle:

“The option of having facial recognition devices (in a home) is still a compelling option for those who want to be on the cutting edge of smart home innovation,” Wollerton writes, after noting that the use of these technologies raises various privacy and civil rights concerns. “Let’s take a look at the facial recognition cameras we’ve tested recently, to see which models are the best and to help you determine if one would work for you.”

The article’s “best value,” the Tend Secure Lynx, is only $60, and apparently works from a database of faces to offer what Wollerton says is “decent facial recognition.”

Other models like the Nest Cam IQ Indoor, also covered in the report, are more expensive, but still well within the reach of the average family’s budget.

Why would households want facial recognition built into their home cameras?

Of course, security plays a main role.

“Standard security cameras are designed to record all activity for later viewing, but true facial recognition takes this a step further,” writes Lowell Bradford at “Customize your alert settings to receive notifications each time an individual you’ve designated as suspicious or dangerous enters the premises, regardless of when their last visit was.”

There’s also the consideration of various liability scenarios – if anything weird happens in your home, the new facial recognition technologies make digital discovery easier.

But it’s also likely that many people just like to have the newest, best thing incorporated into their home technology.

However, the new ubiquity of facial recognition raises questions about personal privacy – for example, what if you’re a postal worker?

Then there’s this report from Alfred Ng at the same site just yesterday about how households are now installing license plate readers as well

“For years, license plate readers have been used by police to collect information on millions of people, whether it’s for criminal investigations, racial profiling or illegal blackmailing,” Ng writes. “Now Rekor Systems wants to put that technology in your neighbors’ hands.”

Sophisticated surveillance gear that used to be the exclusive territory of federal, state and local law enforcement departments are now being built into our smart phones and smart home devices. What does this mean? It will move markets, but it will also generate more debate about the limits of public scrutiny.