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And that's just the beginning of what face recognition technology might mean for us in the digital era.

Over the past decade, face recognition has become a fast-growing commercial industry, moving from its governmental origins—programs like Optic Nerve—into everyday life.

Wander into a retail store and be greeted with personalized product suggestions—the store's network has a record of what you bought last time. The creation of such a database would mean that anyone could be tracked wherever his or her face appears, whether it's on a city street or in a mall.Together, the facial data points create a "face-print" that, like a fingerprint, is unique to each individual.Some faces are described as open books; at a glance, a person can be "read." Face recognition technology makes that metaphor literal.Facebook already uses face recognition to recommend which friends to tag in your photos. Today's laws don't protect Americans from having their webcams scanned for facial data.Face recognition systems have two components: an algorithm and a database.