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How Face Recognition Can Uncover SSNs 103

nonprofiteer writes "Building on previous work showing that social security numbers are not random, CMU researchers ran experiments in which they predicted students' social security numbers after taking a photo of them with a cheap webcam. Using off-the-shelf facial recognition technology and data-mining publicly available Facebook photos and profile information, they were able to come up with the social security numbers of several of the students. (More impressive, as they note that 60% of the students were foreign, and had no SSNs, leaving them a pool of less than 50)."
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How Face Recognition Can Uncover SSNs

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  • Bad writeup (Score:5, Informative)

    by jandrese ( 485 ) <> on Monday August 01, 2011 @11:55AM (#36948402) Homepage Journal
    The writeup made it sound like you could look at a crappy snapshot of a person and magically discover their SSN. What actually happened is that they trolled the Facebook profiles for their hometown and date of birth to discover the SSNs, the webcam was just to match up the person sitting at a terminal currently with their Facebook profile. The story is basically: Off the shelf facial recognition software seems to work pretty good, even with a crappy webcam.

I think there's a world market for about five computers. -- attr. Thomas J. Watson (Chairman of the Board, IBM), 1943