Brave New (Normal) World: Facial Recognition Technology during and after the COVID-19 health emergency

The fact that COVID-19 health emergency requires social distancing, quarantine, or even lockdown makes it necessary to develop and deploy tools that can monitor and track the effectiveness of such measurements against what has been called ‘syndromic surveillance'. One of the top technologies in that regard has been Facial Recognition Technology (FRT). Across the world, FRT has been implemented to identify quarantine ‘violators’ and, along with temperature detection technology, to categorize whether people may be infected or not. However, this widespread implantation has given rise to a vast concern over the privacy implications of FRT systems. Additionally, some voices claimed that once deployed, the technology will be difficult to withdraw. Consequently, this paper aims to ascertain whether the COVID-19 health crisis can serve as an excuse to increase the surveillance state and inquires over the constitutional limits to the use of such technology in a post-Covid19 landscape.