Risks of Facial Recognition in Gaming

Editorial

Facial recognition is an exciting technology used for accomplishing a wide range of objectives like making online payments, unlocking phones, finding missing people, smarter advertising, and video games. While video game developers and gamers have welcomed the technology’s use, experts (including gaming enthusiasts) are concerned about its privacy implications.

The overuse of facial recognition has introduced several new security risks as exchanging privacy for access leads to multiple problems. Experts believe that the use of facial recognition technology is going to open up Pandora’s Box. From the perspective of gamers, it gives them better control over accessing several gaming features and limits their in-app purchases. However, the real question is: are you trading off privacy for facial recognition?

A Word of Caution from China

The China Security and Protection Industry Association (CSPIA) published an article on the China Security Network portal. It points out that facial recognition has resulted in an increase in theft and misuse of data. Chinese users have been at the receiving end of facial recognition misuses as they go about using it for everything from making payments to purchasing toilet paper. The government has made it mandatory for its citizens to get their faces scanned for purchasing new SIM cards.

Public places across China have security cameras installed. Every time someone steps out of their homes, their images are bound to be captured by the millions of cameras installed in every nook and cranny. From the streets to video games, facial recognition technology is ubiquitous.

Facial Recognition and Gaming

Facial recognition in gaming offers several benefits; the biggest among them is fighting gaming addiction. Thus, when the Chinese government decided to fight the menace of gaming addiction, NetEase and Tencent deployed facial recognition technology to help the campaign.

Tencent was the first company to introduce facial recognition with its popular mobile game Honor of Kings and later followed suit with the release of Peacekeeper Elite. The anti-addiction system was geared towards limiting the playing time of minors as it is used to verify the identities of players. IDs are cross-referenced with the public security databases. If it’s found that a minor is using an adult’s account to bypass the checks, they will have to go through facial recognition for verification. Suspicious payments or financial transactions will also have to undergo facial recognition for completion.

Is Privacy Going for a Toss?

Tencent claims that privacy protection is their highest priority and their verification systems encrypt all relevant data while complies with the regulations for ensuring maximum privacy. These claims have often been strongly countered by China’s National Computer Virus Emergency Response Centre (CVERC). They allege that Tencent never made it clear as to how users will be able to erase personal information from their system.

Platforms storing facial data are not secure enough, which has led to several data thefts and leaks in recent months. Gaming companies have been forced to install facial recognition systems, and due to a lack of proper security measures, their databases are being sold to e-commerce platforms. On the other hand, biometric data leaks pose unique challenges as they include attributes such as people’s faces and fingerprints. Thus, securing accounts post data leak is much more challenging than changing or rewriting a password.

Challenges for the Gaming World

CSPIA has asked the government to frame laws and regulations about facial recognition but has refrained from concrete policy suggestions. Epic has recently bought Hypersense, a company that can put facial expressions into a video game character using the webcam. Though this feature will fit in greatly into its popular game Fortnite, the company has the responsibility of safeguarding its user’s facial recognition data.

The ambit of security is growing larger by the day, and it has to cover new grounds because of the latest innovation in the field of video gaming. Gaming companies have to take every possible step to counter the challenges that new technologies like facial recognition pose. They’ll have to secure their servers and databases to prevent data thefts and leaks.

Personal Data Needs More Protection

Installing a VPN is the best way to protect your data, including biometric details you allow to travel through the web. A gaming VPN offers all-around protection to the data exchanged between your device and the gaming server. In addition to preventing connection interceptions, a VPN protects gamers from a variety of prevalent issues. For instance, DDoS attacks render less disruptive than before.

It’s the latest technology that creates a secure tunnel between your device and the web so that no third party can access your data without your permission. A secure end-to-end data encryption technology ensures that your personal and financial data become incomprehensible even if it’s hacked midway.

Last modified: November 24, 2020

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