Facial analysis: automated surveillance and the attempt to quantify emotion

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Even as attempts are being made to curtail the mass deployment of automated facial recognition systems in many countries, there are efforts to harvest new kinds of personal information from faces. Facial emotion recognition is a particularly ambitious form of facial analysis–an automated process in which faces are sorted amongst sets of categories–which has recently drawn criticism. The ways in which basic attributes of facial expression and emotion contradict the foundational assumptions of automated emotion recognition highlight larger conceptual problems with attempts to subject complex human phenomena to automated analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1438-1451
Number of pages14
JournalInformation, Communication and Society
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • affect
  • face
  • Facial analysis
  • facial recognition
  • surveillance/privacy

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