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Politics of Saturday, 30 May 2020


Facial recognition is an inferior technology – EC told

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The Electoral Commission, earlier this year, announced that it will include facial recognition in the new voters register to eliminate manual verification at the polling stations thereby ensuring the credibility of the elections.

However, the IT Director of the National Democratic Congress, Osei Kwame Griffiths, has said that the facial recognition feature is an inferior technology compared to the current fingerprint biometric.

In an interview with Kwame Afrifa Mensah on the ‘Epa Hoa Daben’ show, he explained: “The accuracy and inclusion level of facial recognition is very low. The importance of fingerprint is linked to law enforcement because that is how criminals are identified. This makes the fingerprint the most important”.

Comparing the two biometric processes, he said: “The facial recognition machine codes one’s face in such a way that when another picture is compared it identifies if it is you or not. For that, it is only 80% accurate as compared to our fingerprint which is 99% accurate”.

He noted that the Electoral Commission admitted to the effectiveness of the fingerprint system during the 2019 district level elections.

“According to the EC’s own press conference, it said that ‘in the just ended district level elections held in 2019; out of a total number of 5,431,902 verified, 34,843 were manually verified’. This 0.6% of the voters who were manually verified means that 99.4% of the voters smoothly used the machine”, he stated.

He advised that the EC considers what happened in 2012 when a new system was introduced, so that mistake is not repeated.

“Because the machines were new in 2012, we had almost about 33% issues. That is why for the first time, we voted twice. There were verification issues all over”. So we have advised that going to an election, it is not safe to deploy such an elaborate system. Your accuracy level will not match the 99.4 accuracy in 2019”, he added.