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Churches Using Facial Recognition Software To Check Attendance

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Facebook has a vast facial recognition database so good that it can recognize you when your face is hidden. The FBI has built a criminal facial recognition system and Google’s new Photos app is so effective at face recognition that it can identify adults by photos from their childhood. But now facial recognition is starting to be used in some churches as well.

A facial recognition software specifically for churches called Churchix is used to keep up with who is attending and who is skipping church worship, classes or other events.

Moshe Greenshpan, the CEO of the facial recognition software company Face-Six, says there are 30 churches around the world using his Churchix technology. He launched the service just four months ago and says churches are using it to scan congregants’ faces in order to keep track of attendance at events. The churches want to know who wasn’t there so they can check up on them, or who attends most frequently so they can ask those people for donations.

He declined to name any of the churches using the technology citing the controversy surrounding facial recognition.

Greenshpan said the churches just have to upload one high-quality photo of a congregant to start scanning video or photos from gatherings to see if they were there. When asked by Fusion.net’s Kashmir Hillif if the churches let people know they’re using the technology he said, “I don’t think churches tell people. We encourage them to do so but I don’t think they do.”

That’s exactly the fear that privacy advocates have about the increasing roll-out of this technology: people’s faces are being put in databases and used to track them without their knowledge.

Greenshpan argues that churches were already keeping track of who attended their events, but that Churchix just makes it more efficient for medium-sized and mega-churches.

Would you approve of your church using this technology to check attendance? Answer in the comments section below.

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