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Privacy Your Rights Online

Face Search Engine Raises Privacy Concerns 158

Posted by kdawson
from the i-forget-the-mane-but-the-pace-is-familiar dept.
holy_calamity writes "Startup Polar Rose is in the news today after announcing it will soon launch a service that uses facial recognition software, along with collaborative input, to identify and find people in photos online. But such technology has serious implications for privacy, according to two UK civil liberties groups. Will people be so keen to put their lives on Flickr once anyone from ID thieves to governments can find out their name, and who they associate with?"
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Face Search Engine Raises Privacy Concerns

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  • Lesson #1 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by riversky (732353) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @03:49PM (#17303742)
    ANYTHING you do online is NOT private! PERIOD!
    • by ematic (217513) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @03:59PM (#17303866)
      I agree with the parent. Anybody that posts photos of him/herself on the net should reasonably expect that anybody will see them. This is the reason that I am a bit uncomfortable posting my bookmarks to del.icio.us.

      My advice to anybody who wants their cake and eat it too: Use different handles for different applications.

      That is, if you want to indulge in the MySpace/LJ/VOX blogging, then use a handle unique to that type of activity (eg. BlogUser99).
      If you want to indulge in Flickr/Photobucket/Picasa photo-sharing, then use a different handle (eg. PhotoDad12).
      The same goes for social bookmarking and product reviews on Amazon and the like.
      And, of course you should never use your full name except for in business transactions.

      By using different handles, you'll give black hats/feds/5kr1p7-k1dd13z a hard time trying to figure out who you really are.

      Just my 0b00000010..
      • by GeckoX (259575)
        Been doing that for years.

        But man is it hard keeping track of all my own 'identities'. What a PITA. Necessary evil though.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        I agree with the parent. Anybody that posts photos of him/herself on the net should reasonably expect that anybody will see them.

        What if someone else took a picture of you, or say, your wife, or kids, and put it on the net without your consent? Would that be ok? It's not always about what you would do with photos of yourself, but what other people do with your image that you have no control over.
        • It's not always about what you would do with photos of yourself, but what other people do with your image that you have no control over.
          Especially with the advent of social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook, and with user-supplied content, a-la YouTube. It's tough to keep a firm grasp on your privacy these days if you're at all part of any aspect of modern culture.
          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by BigDogCH (760290)
            So,it seems to me that we should post pictures of ourselves everwhere, with tons of incorrect names. I guess tonight i will be making several myspace sites about fake people, with my pictures.
            • by russ1337 (938915)
              >>>"So,it seems to me that we should post pictures of ourselves everwhere, with tons of incorrect names. I guess tonight i will be making several myspace sites about fake people, with my pictures"

              This is a good counter measure, if you can automate it by grabbing images of people from Flickr etc, and create
              bogus profiles (use the fakename generator [fakenamegenerator.com]). Nothing like dirtying the database.

              But if you do go and dirty the database, I have to add the oblig' "why do you hate our freedom?"
          • by frdmfghtr (603968) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @05:23PM (#17305208)
            Especially with the advent of social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook, and with user-supplied content, a-la YouTube. It's tough to keep a firm grasp on your privacy these days if you're at all part of any aspect of modern culture.


            Agreed. I submitted a story to /. on 11 December (still pending??) about an article in TIME magazine.

            http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15994151/site/newsweek / [msn.com]

            From that story, a good example:

            But two Bank of America employees at a private function celebrating the company's merger with MBNA couldn't have anticipated what happened to them. Their over-the-top rendition of U2's "One" (with custom lyrics like "Integration has never had us feeling so good") wound up being mocked by thousands of Internet critics. (Adding injury to insult, lawyers for U2's record label threatened a lawsuit for copyright infringement.)


            Cheap video technology (esp. video-capable cellphones) and social sites make it all possible.

            Simply being in public can get you on these social sites, whether you actually use them (or have even HEARD of them) or not. In the end, the only way to ensure your privacy is to not become a part of society. If you venture into public, you too could end up on some social web site.

            And remember--this is the PUBLIC engaging in a type of surveillance on the PUBLIC. For the tinfoil hats out there, it's not just the government's watchful eye you have to be careful around; it's that video-capable cellphone in the hands of the seemingly innocent rider sitting across from you on the train, too.
            • by smoker2 (750216)

              And remember--this is the PUBLIC engaging in a type of surveillance on the PUBLIC. For the tinfoil hats out there, it's not just the government's watchful eye you have to be careful around; it's that video-capable cellphone in the hands of the seemingly innocent rider sitting across from you on the train, too.

              They should do like they do with digital cameras on phones, make them make a sound when they are being used :

              .... aaand ACTION ! - *whir-whir-whir-whir* CUT !

            • by mpe (36238)
              And remember--this is the PUBLIC engaging in a type of surveillance on the PUBLIC. For the tinfoil hats out there, it's not just the government's watchful eye you have to be careful around; it's that video-capable cellphone in the hands of the seemingly innocent rider sitting across from you on the train, too.

              The government does tend to get upset when it's the public filming the government. Or their agents such as the police...
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by oldwindways (934421)
        My understanding was that this software makes such precautions irrelevant as it could be used to cross reference images and determine that BlogUser99, PhotoDad12, etc are in fact the same person.

        Not a big deal, unless you happen to work for a conservative company and maintain an anti-government blog or some such thing.

      • My advice to anybody who wants their cake and eat it too: Use different handles for different applications.

        Don't count on it. There are tools to identify people by writing style that can be used to uncover and link multiple identities. I think they've even been mentioned here on slashdot along with claims of very high success rates. I don't really know how successful they will be when applied to really large datasets like some of the larger forums on the net, but they are at least a cause for concern.

        Her
      • Don't Expect Privacy Online

        Don't expect privacy offline, either!

        The problem is: This goes way farther than that. This goes into other people posting photos of you without your knowledge or consent and random people updating information on you without your knowledge or consent.

        Been to a wedding in the past year? Look! There you are drinking with the ugliest bridesmaid!

        Been on vacation recently? That is not your wife, you dirty dog you!

        Fell asleep in front of the TV? Whose nutsack is

    • by yali (209015) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @04:41PM (#17304472)

      In a technical (and technological) sense, you're absolutely right. Given the nature of digital information, anybody putting any information online would be well advised to act as though it is going to get back to everybody they know, perhaps through channels that don't even exist at the time you put the information online.

      But the more complicated social reality is that in most people's experience, the public-private distinction has usually been one of probability and degrees, not an all-or-nothing proposition. It used to be the case (and still is, though less and less so) that you could go to certain technically public places and still have a practical/probabilistic expectation of privacy. For example, you could go to a political or cultural event for an unpopular group (a gay pride parade, for example) and have a reasonable hope that it wouldn't get back to your employer or family. You might be in a technically public space and you (hopefully) knew you were taking a risk, but the risk was small enough that it was worth it.

      The problem raised by this kind of technology is that it is eliminating those kinds of physical and virtual spaces -- the spaces where you can meet and interact with others and have some practical (if not airtight) expectation of privacy. The fact is, there are very few real places you can socialize with lots of other people that have a truly complete expectation of privacy, so the probabilistic expectation is often the best you can hope for. For people with some kind of politically or culturally marginalized interest -- and let's face it, who doesn't have at least one interest that falls into that category -- it's a sad development.

      • The end of protest? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by maillemaker (924053)
        >For example, you could go to a political or cultural event for an unpopular group

        Parent makes an interesting point. Who would risk going to any public protest for anything (war, whatever) knowing that you will probably turn up in a Google image search for doing so?

        Steve
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by pluther (647209)
          Photographing people at public events for intimidation purposes has been around for a long time before this technology was even conceived.

          The FBI used to do it back in the 60's, when cameras used film. I'm unaware of any of the images actually ever being used, but the threat was obvious: we know who you are. Even if, of course, they didn't.

          Didn't stop the protestors then, either. Just pissed a bunch of people off, and had a lot of people jumping in front of the cameras and shouting their names and addr

        • Parent makes an interesting point. Who would risk going to any public protest for anything (war, whatever) knowing that you will probably turn up in a Google image search for doing so?

          Someone who really believes in the cause?
          • I suppose so. But I tell ya what - I'd certainly think twice about jeapordizing my career by showing up at some public rally if typing in my name was likely to pop up pictures of places in public I'd been.

            Basically your statement is a tacit recognition that this technology will, in fact, stiffle protest, relegating it to only those who "really believe". Or perhaps, those with nothing to lose.

            Steve
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Alef (605149)
        I couldn't have said it better myself. And this is something many people don't seem to realise. It has always been possible for a secret service, or someone else with lots of resources, to track and investigate single individuals, through public sources and some social engineering. Long before the internet or even computers existed. But it has been expensive to do so, and impractical on a larger scale.

        In the future, this might very well become so cheap that it is affordable for essentially anyone. And it
    • (Subject line says all)
    • Wouldn't it be more accurate to say: "ANYTHING you do online, out on the street, in your backyard, in your home in front of a window, or anywhere near a camera (whether you know it's there or not) is NOT private! PERIOD!"? If a picture of you ends up online along with your name, does that give everyone else the right to find it by searching for your name?
    • by houghi (78078)
      I believe in The Netherlands a women who had sex while drunk was put on the internet and put to shame. With people having digital camera's that they take to private parties they will put up these pictures on line.

      Often it is NOT the person who takes the pictures and puts them online is on them and is being shunned.
  • by TodMinuit (1026042) <<todminuit> <at> <gmail.com>> on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @03:50PM (#17303752)
    Polar Rose relies on a combination of our unique face recognition algorithms and the collective intelligence of our users.

    They seem to have made a fatal assumption.
  • Welcome to Web 2.0. Check your privacy at the door.
  • Governments? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bhmit1 (2270) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @03:50PM (#17303758) Homepage
    Who says they aren't already doing this? Unlike your credit report, you can't see everything they've been gathering on you.
  • by Hijacked Public (999535) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @03:51PM (#17303766)
    I do some street photography and, although I don't personally publish material on the web, some of the people who hire me do. So even if you don't put your photo on Flickr because you are afraid of being identified by search engine there is nothing stopping me from putting it up there for you.
    • so... please don't take it personally if I take your camera and smash it after you take a picture of me? (I mean no threat, just bringing up a point) if someone cares enough to purposefully not post themselves on the web, perhaps out of fear of a stalker, what right do you have to "publish" without consent?
      • I won't take it personally but most of what I do with a camera involves a lot more peril than some guy on the street smashing my camera. Also, if I'm on the street it is probably a digital so as long at the write is finished smashing it won't do much good.

        There are various laws in various places concerning what kind of permission is necessary before publishing photos depicting identifiable people. Many of them concern advertising only but some, Canada [findlaw.com] is maybe the most clear cut, cover anything that is p

        • by Temkin (112574)

          There are various laws in various places concerning what kind of permission is necessary before publishing photos depicting identifiable people.



          There's the problem... Now everyone is identifiable!

      • by Daemonstar (84116)
        Here's a bit of privacy/publicity guidelines I found here [publaw.com].

        The basic presumption underlining right to privacy laws is the protection of an individual from the disclosure of private facts. The general principles are that one who publicizes a matter concerning the private life of another is subject to liability for invasion of privacy if the matter publicized is of a kind that would be highly offensive to a reasonable person and is not of legitimate concern to the public. The right of publicity provides tha

        • by BigDogCH (760290)
          Ah, but this if for information about the "private life of another subject". Is your face private? I don't think so. If it is, then you shouldn't show it to anyone. Maybe some of your photographers here in the U.S. can help me out, but isn't anything visible from a public area (without a zoom lens) allowable to be photographed? I mean, according to the posters here, I wouldn't be allowed to take pictures of cops because I didn't get their permission. Well, that just wouldn't work in a "free country" n
          • If you are in the US good places to read up on this are here [krages.com] and here [rcfp.org] and here [kantor.com]. That last link is from Andrew Kantor, who describes himself as a "writer photographer geek" and has written a lot on the subject as it applies to digital photography and publishing.

            The attention paid to anyone on the street with a camera has gone up since 9/11. If you spend much time taking pictures of a federal building you'll probably get to talk with the security guards. If you are actually standing on their grounds when y

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Christoph (17845)
        I have written permission to take your photo and publish it, at least in the USA, in the form of the First Amendment to the Constitution.

        I am being sued in federal court for publishing a man's photo (along with his name). See:
        www.cgstock.com/essays/vilana.html [cgstock.com]

        He's a mortgage originator, and he forged a sales agreement, and I'm warning others about him on my website (e.g. consumer speech). He dropped an earlier claim of defamation (what I wrote about his is true), but he's raising the same objection as

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          The problem I'm concerned with here is more along the lines of: I cut someone off on the highway. They speed past and take a picture of me with cameraphone. They use said software to find pictures of me on the internet, including picture of me with my girlfriend. They search with same software for the identity of girlfriend. They take out their grudge on her.
          People go way overboard with road rage, so that scenerio isn't entirely paranoid. With a simple photo they get access to the who and where of all of
      • by CGP314 (672613)

        ...please don't take it personally if I take your camera and smash it after you take a picture of me? (I mean no threat, just bringing up a point) if someone cares enough to purposefully not post themselves on the web, perhaps out of fear of a stalker, what right do you have to "publish" without consent?

        Photographers have every right [sirimo.co.uk] to photograph you if you are in a public place. Like the grandfather poster, I also do street photography [smugmug.com] but unlike him I do make mine available. If you required that ph

        • But as photographers, shouldn't you and the GF worry that this software makes your art, a part of a database with huge exploitaion potential? My problem isn't with being in your picture, my problem is that your picture is now also entering my face into that database. You leave fingerprints and DNA everywhere you go in public as well, how whould you feel about those being catalogued?
          • I think the parent poster has pretty much hit the nail on the head. Many recent technological advances have the potential to invade privacy, from our photography subject here, to CCTV, to government databases. However, the problem isn't usually the individual items of data, but the way that data can be combined together and processed to gain new insights. Someone seeing me in the street while I'm shopping is one thing. Someone following me around and recording everywhere I go would be creepy.

            Personally, a

    • by ceoyoyo (59147)
      Perhaps, but then you're just a face in a crowd. That's not NEARLY as convenient as a site that keeps pictures of your face and intimate details of your life all in one convenient package.
  • All those photos where perfectly legal... in the countries in which they were taken.
  • A video on the Polar Rose website (avi format) shows the technique being used to reconstruct actor Tom Cruise's face: http://www.polarrose.com/img/tom.avi [polarrose.com]
    • The fatal flaw in this process, is that it's Tom Cruise's face. Can't I have one day where I don't have to look at that guy?

      This is why I worry about this process. Not because of my privacy, but because there are already too many instances of my large face on the Net. You people have enough of me to deal with already, without yet another database crunching my oily pixels and spitting them back up at you with a hyperlink attached.
  • pr0n (Score:5, Funny)

    by User 956 (568564) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @03:56PM (#17303812) Homepage
    Startup Polar Rose is in the news today after announcing it will soon launch a service that uses facial recognition software,

    The only "facial" recognition software I use is Google Image Search with Safesearch turned off.
  • by David_Shultz (750615) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @03:56PM (#17303814)
    let's face it -your information is out there somewhere. Instead of being afraid of getting involved in some online community, let's think of better measures of protection against identity theft.
    • It's easy! Just take the old tinfoil hat, unfold the edges a bit more so you cover your ears, eyes and nose. Now, make some tiny slits for the previously mentioned orifices and you're golden.

      Who said technology was difficult to deal with?

    • by aztektum (170569)
      It's not identity theft it's identity fraud.
  • A face search engine should be able to identify the ghost that appear in the background of a picture (i.e., The Grudge).
  • by bigtrike (904535) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @03:59PM (#17303852)
    Unless face recognition has improved drastically, this company will just fail like the last couple companies which attempted to do anything with it.
    • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @04:33PM (#17304332)
      Unless face recognition has improved drastically, this company will just fail like the last couple companies which attempted to do anything with it.

      Wrong: nowadays, anything that remotely has to do with security, identification, tracking and general populace control (to save us all from all these hordes of terrorists of course) is big money. Look at most of the advances in computing these days: they're almost all about biometrics, RFID, detectors of this-or-that... Most of it is hype, but it nets whomever spews it a lot of government money.
  • Finally (Score:2, Funny)

    by MaGogue (859961)
    Ach, so I will finally be able to look up this lovely Russian girl I've met online.
    She's been sending me pictures of herself (chuckles) and her name is Sonya..
    She's SO sexy she's got me worried, but my worries will finally go away as soon as I check her photo with this new service!!!
  • Will people be so keen to put their lives on Flickr once anyone from ID thieves to governments can find out their name, and who they associate with?"

    The bad guys already know so hiding only hurts your friends. The resources they own are the ISP, your non free OS, your phone calls and public "security cameras". Your friends only have what you can give them. The bad guys want to limit your ability to match their power and knowledge. The only solution is to guard what's really private and give rest away

  • And now, every picture on Myspace will become part of your Permanent Record.

    But at least dating sites will be able to filter out copies of pictures of famous people and porn stars.

    • And now, every picture on Myspace will become part of your Permanent Record.

      And every picture you take of public figures and post on the Internet will be part of the permanent record, too. The power of an open society is that the rich and powerful cannot hide their actions from scrutiny.
      • by Ingolfke (515826)
        The power of an open society is that the rich and powerful cannot hide their actions from scrutiny.

        I agree. One Night in Paris is an example of the crowning achievement and wonderful benefits of our society.
  • Witness Protection (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jeffkjo1 (663413) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @04:07PM (#17303984) Homepage
    I'm curious how things like this will work with Witness Protection.

    Setting aside the fact that, at least right now, sunglasses fool these systems... if someone, lets say, a member of the Talini Crime family wants to find a rat. By giving a picture of him to this company, they could then search for pictures on the internet he appears in.

    Considering how many pictures people take with random people in the background, it seems inevitable that said rat would turn up.
  • Is there a South Polar Rose ?
    I've had a bunch of photos with no faces that I'd like to put names to for quite awhile now.
    Tommy Lee was nice enough to identify one of them, but the others are just, well, unknown roses.
  • Sure this sounds bad, but look at the rest of the web. Kids on myspace posting pictures of themselves doing drugs, underage drinking, etc... We've all heard of the dangers checking email at coffee shops, told not to follow links from our email to bank accounts, not to talk to strangers, the list could go forever and do we ever stop and think about the dangers? Sure for about a week, then the world forgets the rest. We're untouchable, next risk please. Oh, STDs, hmmm if I apply the method of this article "st
  • by LionKimbro (200000) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @04:15PM (#17304106) Homepage
    It will not be very long (a decade? two decades?) before face, body, gait, license plate, voice, speech, handwriting, textual habits, (and so on) recognition software will be powerful enough to recognize people in real-time, from a variety of real-time inputs.

    Even the past will be open to analysis, a theme called "retroactive surveillance." For example, the Seattle bus system keeps timestamped footage of people coming in and out of the bus, and the Seattle bus system keeps records of where the buses are, and when, by GPS. In theory, these two systems can be correlated, and, if you have a system for analyzing faces, you should be able to connect the "network of data" to figure out who is where and when. This type of correlation is what software visionaries are working hard to achieve, with efforts such as the Semantic Web.

    People who are worried about "the mark of the beast," through such things as RFID tags and so on, are worried about the wrong thing. You won't need to "wear" anything. You won't need any special marks, once software is sufficiently capable. Your face, your clothes, the way you walk, your posture, the regular patterns you follow every day, your voice, all are sufficient enough, in themselves, to serve as the "mark of the beast."

    It is conceivable that you will be able to limit government use of this sort of technology. But will you be able to stop private users from using this sort of technology? If you envision a future revolution of some sort, do you believe that the revolutionaries would not use this technology themselves? To track the motion of police vehicles, and individual policemen, and the people who work for and against you?

    The underlying activities behind these technologies: Collecting information, seeing, hearing, sensing, and then correlating what is seen, what is heard- these are foundational. The "problem" is simply intelligence, itself.

    I doubt that willful blindness or doubt is going to help us in our path to the future. We see that backwards countries practicing willful blindness, not advanced ones.
    • by kabocox (199019)
      It is conceivable that you will be able to limit government use of this sort of technology. But will you be able to stop private users from using this sort of technology? If you envision a future revolution of some sort, do you believe that the revolutionaries would not use this technology themselves? To track the motion of police vehicles, and individual policemen, and the people who work for and against you?

      This could be very, very neat if you control info or ads. Say you own a taxi cab company, with this
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by natedubbya (645990)

      It will not be very long (a decade? two decades?) before face, body, gait, license plate, voice, speech, handwriting, textual habits, (and so on) recognition software will be powerful enough to recognize people in real-time, from a variety of real-time inputs.

      I think your decade or two is far too short a time prediction. These technologies will take much longer than you anticipate before they are usable in the manner you describe. You even mention the Semantic Web as a means of putting together these c

      • Too many points to respond to.

        But very briefly: Why do you think the Semantic Web is pointless, without Natural Language Processing?

        You must be thinking about reasoners, and such, but consider: Just the ability to network data, alone, is staggeringly useful. Semantic Web efforts are going strong, and producing good work. A friend of mine living nearby makes his living, working with biology data in RDF formats and such, and I know he's not alone.

        These technologies will take much longer than you anticipat
    • by DM9290 (797337)
      "It is conceivable that you will be able to limit government use of this sort of technology. But will you be able to stop private users from using this sort of technology? "

      easy enough. Put a hard legal limit on the processing power any person is allowed to possess. Measured in gigaflops or some other metric. The same way most places have legal limitations on what kinds of weapons a person is allowed to possess. There is no moral difference between a computer and a weapon. Both can be used for good or har
      • Put a hard legal limit on the processing power any person is allowed to possess.

        Nice; You'll also need to put a hard legal limit on the ability of people to congre-^H^H^H to network their intellig-^H^H^H devices.

        Alternatively.. make it a crime to use facial recognition software without the consent of the person who's face is to be recognized.

        Sure, but how are you going to monitor something like that? You'll need something like the Secure Hardware Environment. [sdsu.edu]

        Re: your gun analogy.

        I don't think your work by
        • by DM9290 (797337)
          "Sure, but how are you going to monitor something like that? You'll need something like the Secure Hardware Environment."

          If there was a legal requirement to MONITOR something in order to make it illegal sure. However there are plenty of illegal activities which go completely unmonitored. How does the government monitor to insure you are not using copyprotection circumvention software? The exact same problems exist. And yet the law (regardless what people fantasize about) does decrease the use of copyprot
          • Actually, I just find your arguments totally unpersuasive, and your projections about what my arguments are, what they mean, and what my motivations are, unwarranted and unreasonable.

            So I'm not sure how you get the conclusion that this is a "material limit" on intelligence.

            Well, look here:

            Put a hard legal limit on the processing power any person is allowed to possess. Measured in gigaflops or some other metric.

            Those are your words, and there is your material limit.

            I don't think I'll be conversing with you m
            • by DM9290 (797337)
              "Put a hard legal limit on the processing power any person is allowed to possess. Measured in gigaflops or some other metric.

              Those are your words, and there is your material limit."

              Thats not a material limit. Thats just a limit. It doesn't become material until it impairs the ability to achieve the intended goal.

              If I sell shoes and have sufficient processing power to sell my shoes and no additional cpu power would affect my sales. Then preventing me from having any more cpu power is NOT MATERIAL to the busi
              • "all logically sound lines of reasoning contain exactly 0 logical gaps."

                Yes, but all lines of reasoning, about anything that matters, beyond mathematics, have logical gaps. I'll make a prototype-based definition, and put into "anything that matters:" politics, economics, business, religion, the nature of the world, ...

                There are no flawless bases of axioms, followed by lines of logic without gaps, in any of those discussions. They are based entirely on defeasible reasoning.

                This being TRUE, it is sufficien
      • by couchslug (175151)
        " Put a hard legal limit on the processing power any person is allowed to possess. Measured in gigaflops or some other metric. The same way most places have legal limitations on what kinds of weapons a person is allowed to possess. There is no moral difference between a computer and a weapon. Both can be used for good or harm. Alternatively.. make it a crime to use facial recognition software without the consent of the person who's face is to be recognized."

        Once that technology-stifling legal limit is in pl
        • The Secure Hardware Environment. [sdsu.edu] ;)

          Inevitable, in my book. [communitywiki.org]
        • by DM9290 (797337)
          "Once that technology-stifling legal limit is in place, it will be difficult to change. What looks like a good idea one day seems absurd the next. Obligatory "640K ought to be enough for anybody" reference..."

          hell, my TI-99a4 had a 16kb limit. What is your point? We limit speed on the highway, although it would be economically superior if we allowed transports trucks to drive at 100 mph on the highway, there is a harm with this so we limit it.

          If there is a harm to society in superfast processors and the ha
    • You don't really even need to be discreet to get a lot of personal information. Look at Facebook. People are willing to do the work FOR you, populating data sets.

      The reason you don't have to worry about invading anyone's privacy is that like Scott Adams says: People like to talk more than they like to listen. And that's why the government conspiracists always make me laugh. They think that the government will one day track everything you do by force, when in reality, private corporations have already b
  • a porn application (Score:1, Insightful)

    by leroybrown (136516)
    this kind of technology will certainly make it easier to find those individual chicks i see in porn that i want to see more of.

    • by Dunbal (464142)
      find those individual chicks i see in porn that i want to see

            Kinda gives a whole new meaning to the term "facial" recognition when you put it that way, doesn't it?
  • If you put your pictures online, everyone can see it, copy it, and (gasp!) even draw funny a mustache on your face. If you want to post your pictures online, use passwords, restrict the access. It is amazing that people whine about privacy when they have no regard about their own.
  • That they are really trying to find out if it's truely Britney in that video.....
  • wild goose chase (Score:2, Insightful)

    by BigPoppaT (842802)
    As other posters have pointed out, once something is online, it's not private anymore. Complaining about the 'privacy concerns' of this software bugs me, because it's a distraction from real privacy issues.

    Reminds of the Libertarian Party (of which I am, unhappily, a member) - seriously complaining about trivial issues means that people will trivialize your complaints about serious issues.
  • Oh *come* *on* (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Grismar (840501)
    Are we really going to pretend we didn't know technology like this was coming? Are we going to act all heated with righteous indignation about something that researchers have been chasing after for decades?

    Everybody knew about it and expected this technology to be perfected sooner or later (and for now it seems that it's still a bit later). So, if you were that worried about someone being able to Flickr and Google your personal relationships together, you should have thought twice about putting your entire
  • Dating sites... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by teutonic_leech (596265) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @05:04PM (#17304854)
    I think many of the people submitting their images to dating or adult sites should start worrying right now...
    • by quokkapox (847798)

      I think many of the people submitting their images to dating or adult sites should start worrying right now...

      They should have been worried a long time ago. Ever since the 80's, I and many others were too young and naive to realize the USENET archives would be indexed and available at everyone's fingertips in the future. Much of everything I ever said online in the 90's is now conveniently searchable.

      So I changed my name. I can't change my face so easily though.

      Anybody interested, meet me over

  • I think we just have to accept that once we have made information public, it is eventually going to be used and abused in every way possible.

    If you don't want that, try to keep your online profile as low as possible--there isn't much else you can do.

    This always get to me--like when a guy (it happens every couple years) goes to the DMV and buys the DMV database and puts it online--all of a sudden everyone raises a stink. THE RECORDS ARE THERE--because this guy did something "new" with them is not a bad thin
  • by SPYvSPY (166790) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @06:07PM (#17305968) Homepage
    A friend of mine works for a security firm here in NYC. They do camera system installs for certain *really*, *really* high security locations. If he wanders around in certain areas of the city, he'll have a nice email the next morning retracing his steps with still photos at various locations. The surveillance operators just feed the system a headshot and the rest is history. Sure, it's a little joke amongst co-workers, but it's fully possible today, right now.
  • Maybe a robots.txt -esque way of opting out of your picture's being indexed?
  • It's odd, everyone seems to be fixated on the fact that people could use this to find images of them. The trouble I see with that way of thinking is that if an image you don't want viewed is on the internet it is there for one of 2 reasons
    1)You put it there. In this case it's your own fault and you shouldn't complain.
    2)Someone put it there without your permission. Think naughty landlords with hidden cameras or stalkers with telephoto lenses. In this case you generally don't know you're on the $/month "gen
  • Diamond (Score:2, Informative)

    by awolbach (956900)
    An open source version of a content-based image search engine is already available in the Carnegie Mellon-Intel joint research project called Diamond. (http://diamond.cs.cmu.edu/) It has a facial recognition application called SnapFind which can already perform arbitrary face matching and other filtering (given the image data), and it is available for free. Disclaimer: I work on Diamond, which has many other applications than this, and thought it was appropriate to post.
  • I wonder how it would deal with twins or "doppelgangers".

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