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“Not by passport, but by face”: industries in which facial biometrics become indispensable

Not by passport, but by face — RecFaces

Application of information security systems with facial biometric technology in various sectors of the economy

Facial recognition technology has received a significant impetus for wider use and distribution during the COVID-19 pandemic. The development of computing power, combined with the rapid improvement in the quality of photo and video technology and modern artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms, has provided face recognition technologies with constant improvement, and today it is conquering new promising industries. So, facial recognition helps law enforcement agencies find missing children, fight human trafficking, find dangerous criminals and call maniacs to account.

Facial recognition in the medical industry allows you to identify quickly employees even in masks and protective suits, speed up patient registration, including unconscious, and even determine the location of patients. The technology allows people to confirm quickly and conveniently their identity when entering the room, perform online transactions and gain unhindered access to personalized services.

Biometrics is in demand at facilities with an increased level of protection, such as industrial enterprises, energy, banks, aviation, train stations and other transport infrastructure. In recent years, business centers have shown interest in introducing biometrics, where face identification performs security and business analysis tasks.


Facial biometrics solutions market in numbers
Fight against terrorism
Countering human trafficking
Detections of offenses
Airport security
Banks and finance

Facial biometrics solutions market in numbers

According to forecasts of Global Industry Analysts Inc. (GIA), as early as 2026, the biometric technology market is expected to grow to about $44 billion — from about $20 billion in 2020. A significant part of this market is occupied by facial recognition technology. Analysts from GIA estimate the global biometrics market for banking and financial services at $8.9 billion by 2026, with the facial biometrics segment at $1.9 billion by 2026. Currently, according to GIA, this segment accounts for 22.8% of the global biometrics market for banking and financial services.

Brandessence Market Research in its latest market forecast (March 2022) estimates the value of the digital identification solutions market in 2027 at $60.88 billion with an average annual growth potential of 15.9%. According to J'son & Partners Consulting, the global biometric services market will grow to $40 billion by 2022. 

China is considered the largest player in the biometric identification market, where the social rating system with face recognition has become a common occurrence in all areas of the economy and life — including payment for travel in transport, car sharing, shopping in stores, delivery of food and groceries. India also shows impressive results, where the national biometric identification system Aadhaar ID already in 2018 covered more than 1.21 billion people, or almost 99% of the country's adult population.

In the wold, a number of companies are developing software products for biometric identification, which have already created dozens of applications for the banking sector, retail, tourism industry, sports facilities and other sectors of the economy. Many of them are already working or are under implementation far beyond the borders of our country. The state is also actively interested in the development of biometric identification systems, including within the framework of the law enforcement segment of the Safe City system.

This article contains examples of several industries where the introduction of facial recognition technology not only shows really impressive results, but also over time can become the only way to protect against violence, theft or other harm.

Fight against terrorism

Facial recognition technology can be used in emergencies where a suspected terrorist attack is imminent or in the process of being carried out, by significantly reducing the time it takes analysts and first responders to identify suspects. This could improve response time or ultimately help prevent or reduce damage from such attacks, saving lives.

According to the New York Times, US law enforcement agencies have been using facial recognition technology to help investigate criminal cases for about 20 recent years. Thanks to facial recognition technology, detectives from the New York Police Department (NYPD) managed to identify the terrorist who left a couple of multicookers with explosives at the Fulton Street subway station.

Within minutes, detectives extracted still images of the suspect from surveillance footage and, using a facial recognition program, compared them to identikits in the NYPD's arrest database. The system issued several hundred potential matches, after which it took just one hour to identify the suspect.

In 2022, it is also planned to introduce a face recognition system in schools and higher educational institutions to prevent terrorist threats. In sports schools , cameras are already connected to a face recognition system or motion sensors.

Countering human trafficking

Since 2015, the nonprofit group Thorn has been providing a tool called Spotlight, which uses facial recognition among other technologies to help find underage sex trafficking victims in online ads. Spotlight was used in 40,000 cases in North America, helped save 15,000 children and identify 17,000 traffickers, according to reports.

In 2019, a California law enforcement officer saw a missing child report on social media from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The officer took advantage of Spotlight to return a list of online sexual services ads involving the girl. As it turned out, the girl was “sold for several weeks”, and the actions of the authorities laid the foundation for a process that “saved the girl from injury”.

Detections of offenses

The past decade has seen the successful introduction and use of facial recognition technology as an effective tool in thousands of state and local law enforcement authorities' investigations across the globe. Many members of public safety agencies believe that this technology is becoming a decisive factor in ensuring the safety of society, pointing to cases where, without it, crimes would not have been solved or prevented.

Facial recognition helps investigators narrow the range of suspects faster, find missing children, rescue trafficking victims, exonerate innocent people, seek justice for victims, identify the dead and benefit our society in many other ways. In law enforcement authorities the technology helps analysts in cases where they cannot use other means to verify identity and establish sufficient legal basis of the arrest.

In traditional methods, police try to identify an unknown person of interest in an investigation by manually looking through hundreds of victim identikits, interviewing people with photos or searching a database using vague descriptions of suspects or names that could easily turn out to be criminal aliases or fake documents.

Facial recognition technology automates and improves the first step to identify potentially suitable photos from the database. In addition to improving the process that would otherwise be carried out manually, facial recognition contributes to more accurate identification. Forensic experts show the best results supported by facial recognition technology, and the most accurate results are achieved when these efforts are combined.

For example, the American press widely covered the case when a man was shot and seriously wounded during a robbery in Detroit, Michigan, in 2019. Using images from high-quality CCTV covering the scene, investigators were able to identify the suspect, who was taken into custody after further investigation, through a facial recognition program.

In addition, the use of facial biometrics technology allows you to disclose even the so-called “cold” cases. So, in 2017, a man accused of sexual abuse of a minor was detained in the United States after a 16-year search. Using facial recognition technology, the FBI was able to identify the suspect after a positive match was found in the suspect's attempt to obtain a US passport. In the same way in 2014 the FBI used facial recognition technology to help find and detain a convicted pedophile who had been on the run for 14 years and bring him back to New Mexico to stand trial.

Modern automated video surveillance data processing systems spend seconds to recognize faces in video streams. Assessment of flows of people in public places allows solving issues of urban planning, land management, organization of transport, as well as large-scale events.

Airport security

Facial recognition technology is used in many airports in the world and continues to develop. Customs and Border services, together with airport staff, matches passport photos with a database to verify the identity of thousands of travelers entering and leaving countries. This technology is proving to be an important tool for border security. In addition to breaking laws against illegal entry, passport fraud fuels many other types of crime, including human and drug trafficking.

Thus, the US press described a case when in 2021 a 26-year-old man flying from Brazil entered Washington Dulles International Airport and presented a French passport. Agents used a facial recognition system to compare his passport photo to a database of known images with identification data, signaling that the man had a fake passport. The man's real ID was found in his boot and it emerged he was originally from the Republic of Congo and not France.

A Cameroonian woman pretended to be an American while trying to enter the US with a fake passport. She presented the employee with an American passport, but after checking the passport using facial recognition technology, it turned out that the identities did not match. After further verification, the true identity was revealed. Similarly, a woman who arrived on a flight from Ghana was arrested for posing as a US citizen with a fake passport.


Facial recognition technology can be used in healthcare facilities to protect the health and safety of patients and staff, including protecting valuable laboratory equipment and providing contactless access — only for trained and authorized staff to sensitive areas of the facility, such as “clean rooms”, to eliminate the risk of infection.

The capabilities and nuances of using face matching technology to control access in order to ensure safety and protection in medical institutions have passed a real “battle test” during and after the entry into force of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. Many hospitals have implemented a facial recognition system to spare healthcare professionals the need to carry badges or enter codes to confirm their credentials.

Reducing contact with potentially infected surfaces is a key factor when staff should be on high alert for the spread of germs and disease. Such technologies can perform a dual function of safety and hygiene in normal conditions, providing contactless access to almost any workspace.

Banks and finance

The next decade is expected to become more challenging for banks and financial institutions as security breaches become more sophisticated with technology developments. Money laundering has become widespread, accounting for about 2-5% of global GDP. One of the measures actively used by banks is biometrics, since this technology helps create a secure banking environment by reducing identity fraud, creating an audit trail of transactions and protecting financial data.

The transition to biometrics is also due to the inability of traditional security measures such as PINs, passwords and tokens to provide effective protection, especially against increasingly sophisticated attacks by intruders. A growing understanding among banking institution customers of the inadequacy of PIN codes and passwords in providing protection against complex bank fraud and online threats is leading to a high demand for hacking security solutions such as facial and other biometrics. In addition, the constant increase in the number of password hacks recently reflects the insufficient level of security associated with the use of passwords as an access method.

With the growing need to protect against increased cases of fraud and identity theft, as well as the constantly expanding scale of fraud, banks prefer to invest in reliable authentication measures.

The largest banks use biometric technologies in various scenarios, such as ATM cash withdrawals, authentication in mobile banking applications using fingerprint login or a combination of face and voice verification. Facial recognition has gained momentum since the launch of Apple's Face ID system. Tesco Bank is one of the banks to update its mobile banking app to make it compatible with Face ID from Apple, allowing customers to log in to their accounts and make facial recognition payments.

Against the background of the growing popularity of facial biometrics technology for financial transactions, cases have also become more frequent when hackers try to “deceive” it. So, the company Inc., which provides facial recognition technology to verify eligibility for unemployment benefits in the U.S., recorded more than 80,000 attempts to defraud state facial recognition systems between June 2020 and January 2021. Hackers of facial recognition systems use a huge number of methods, including deep fakes (images created by artificial intelligence), special masks or even bring images or videos of the person whom the hacker wants to impersonate.

Facial biometrics are globally used in subway. At the end of 2021 it has a Face Pay payment system. Subway officials expects that in two or three years, up to 15% of metro passengers will stably pay for facial recognition trips. In 2022 it is planned to launch Face Pay in many cities, and there is possibility of launching face recognition payments on other types of transport.

Recently, the service of payment for goods and services using facial biometrics has also been gaining popularity in the world. So, according to bank at the end of March 2022, almost 1 million bank customers joined the Pay in a glance service, while in one year the service existed, more than 500 thousand transactions were carried out with its help.

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