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Is the World Ready For Facial Recognition On Google Glass? 469

An anonymous reader writes "Since the first demonstration of the plausible future abilities of Google Glass, instant facial recognition has been one of the most exciting ideas in the pipeline. According the the development group Facial Network, the time for real-time facial recognition through Google Glass is coming a lot sooner than we originally expected. This isn't an app developed by Google, it's a 3rd party developer group — they've gone and done it first!" The application is not on the Play store due to the ban on facial recognition. It performs real time recognition, and pulls information from public databases. The authors intend to allow people to opt-out of the recognition database.
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Is the World Ready For Facial Recognition On Google Glass?

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  • by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Tuesday December 24, 2013 @04:12AM (#45773533)
    • This isn't going to matter. Like all tech, this will be used by governments, and even if you persuade all your friends to wear masks, they are going to have so many cameras that it will come to a point they can know who anyone is by process of elimination.

    • Google glass wearers are going to need make-up to cover up that black eye and bloody nose.

  • by MRe_nl ( 306212 ) on Tuesday December 24, 2013 @04:17AM (#45773547)

    I don't much care for face-recognition, in fact I can imagine a lot of venue's banning internet-connected (full-time recording) head mounted camera's (for guests), but AGE-recognition would be a useful feature on the door if you have a liqueur-license or some other age-related barrier.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I don't know, I think the technology will be very interesting going forward. Not sure what the technical term would be, but as a memory assistant / aid it would be great, especially if you have a disability or otherwise diminished memory capacity.

      Imagine having 24/7 audio/video recordings for the last day/month/year/life. The video feeds could be automatically marked whenever you have encountered somebody through facial recognition. Voice could be automatically transcribed and then indexed for search. Hell

    • by Alioth ( 221270 ) <no@spam> on Tuesday December 24, 2013 @05:44AM (#45773907) Journal

      I'd love facial recognition. I have a really bad memory for names and faces, and I often end up in the embarrassing situation of meeting someone in the street who knows who I am but I only vaguely recognise their face and certainly don't remember their name. Having a prosthetic "face to name" system would save me from many embarrassing situations.

      • by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Tuesday December 24, 2013 @07:16AM (#45774263) Journal

        Having a prosthetic "face to name" system would save me from many embarrassing situations.

        I have that too and this is still super creepy to me. Learn to deal with it, by replying something like "oh hi how are you" and winging it.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

        It's one thing if it uses your personal database with only photos of people that you took with their consent, but not if it goes off hunting Facebook for pictures. If you had to ask people's permission it would kind of defeat the purpose for you.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

      Some nightclubs in the UK ask to see your Facebook profile as proof of age... because apparently you can't lie to Facebook.

  • Killer App (Score:4, Informative)

    by Javal ( 2436716 ) on Tuesday December 24, 2013 @04:21AM (#45773557)
    It will be a god-send for people with prosopagnosia (face blindness). Can you imagine the awkward social situations in which you don't recognize people? Your colleagues, friends or even family?
    • Who cares?

      Know what I hate? People in my way. If I just carried an AK-47 around with me all the time, my life would be so much better. People would stay out of my way. I wouldn't actually shoot anyone, I promise... I just want some respect!

      Point is, there will be backlash to people wearing internet-connected face-recognizing cameras, and it won't matter what the excuse.

    • I don't have this condition but I suck at recognizing faces and remembering names. 15 years ago I thought about how great it would be if I had a wearable facial recognition device, but I always thought it would be a stand-alone thing: I put the pictures and names in, and they stay in the device.

      The problem with this of course is that it constantly does the facial recognition on everyone, and sends the results back to the mother ship. If enough people start wearing these, and only 1 mugshot of you makes
      • The stand-alone device brings another problem. Social conventions say it is very rude and offensive to fail to recognise someone - if you have to look down at your face-database device, it's going to lead to people getting very upset. The glass approach has the advantage of complete transparency. You look, it tells you all you need to know, and from the perspective of everyone else you just remembered unaided.

        Power constraints would make it impractical to send every face seen back to google. Radios use a lo

        • The stand-alone device would basically be Glass minus Google (or minus the radio).

          And sure, currently there are constraints on the number of faces in a Glass database, constraints on power and on the wireless connection used to talk to Google, but that's just a matter of time. If there will be enough apps on these glasses that appeal to those in the mainstream, and unless there is some violent backlash against these things (again, from regular people, not privacy advocates), then I give it 5 years or so
    • Re:Killer App (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TheSeatOfMyPants ( 2645007 ) on Tuesday December 24, 2013 @05:34AM (#45773871) Journal

      I have prosopagnosia, but I prefer the stress/awkwardness over people being able to know my name at a glance whether I trust them or not. From firsthand experience, having your name makes it feasible for an unstable, pissed-off, or obsessed individual to track down your contact info, school, workplace, home, and family members; even if they don't do any real damage, the situation can become really fucking creepy and last a very long time.

      I also just don't want to make it any easier for the government or law enforcement to keep track of me everywhere I go.

      • Not just government. The glasses can be hacked, and then you'll have an *army* of people around the world who spy for others without knowing it. Think botnet with s/bot/camera/. Russian/Chinese/American organized hacker groups selling your whereabouts to the debt collection agencies, who'll track you down to intimidate you, while you're eating at some restaurant or drinking at a party. NSA hackers turned Mafia goons, they'll use the glasses network to break the witness protection schemes, datamine new black
  • Opt out? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Tuesday December 24, 2013 @04:24AM (#45773569)

    So if I don't want my name popping up on some random Glass-hole's screen whenever I have the misfortune to be in one's proximity, I have to go find some random app's website and opt out? How is that supposed to actually work in practice?

    Anyone know if those LED baseball caps really work? What about a can of spray paint, aimed at the Glass-hole?

    • Anyone know if those LED baseball caps really work? What about a can of spray paint, aimed at the Glass-hole?

      This looks promising, it's an IR based 'camera blinder' that hides your face: []

      Dunno how effective it is against different camera types and it does require you to wear a dumb-ass headband but it looks like a promising concept.

      • by marienf ( 140573 ) on Tuesday December 24, 2013 @06:25AM (#45774055)

        Anyone know if those LED baseball caps really work? What about a can of spray paint, aimed at the Glass-hole?

        This looks promising, it's an IR based 'camera blinder' that hides your face: []

        Dunno how effective it is against different camera types and it does require you to wear a dumb-ass headband but it looks like a promising concept.

        I've been playing around with various IR LED types, such as this one [], at a couple wavelengths, and I found that in darkness and twilight, you need only very few to become a huge blob of ghostly light, but in good lighting conditions, a good camera like an Axis P3367 [] and even some of the crappy webcams I tried will see them as merely little points of red light. So I'll integrate a bunch in my backpack's straps and on it's surface, to at least get that commute, including subways etc.. covered, but with little hope of completeness.

        So the real challenge may be: can we build a device that automates lens detection, focuses a small laser on the lens in question, and keeps it there while both the lens and the wearer of the countermeasure laser move along. +1 for a switch that will briefly increase laser power to burning strength. As in using a 2W Laser diode [] at low power. Capability :-)

  • No opt-out (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SuperDre ( 982372 ) on Tuesday December 24, 2013 @04:25AM (#45773571) Homepage
    It shouldn't be opt-out, it should be opt-in.... People wearing google glasses should really be carefull, as more and more people will not stand you wearing one while facing them (and I don't blame them)..
    • Re:No opt-out (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Tuesday December 24, 2013 @04:41AM (#45773653)

      It can't be opt-in. How could it be? Would you opt-in for something that lets you be tracked and recognized everywhere by anybody (and more importantly by evil corporations)? Would you opt-in to receive telemarketer calls at home? Would you opt-in to get spam emails?

      Of course not: even if you only have doubts about something, your doubts make you *not* opt-in.

      That's why every service that people don't want or don't like are opt-out only: for one thing, the bastards who foist it on us hope people will be too lazy to jump through the hoops to opt-out, and as an added bonus, the opt-out database itself can be mined and monetized.

      In any case, even if you opt out, how will you know your mug won't be tracked anyway? Do you believe in corporate morals? Who's the overseeing body? The government? Do you believe in government morals?

      • by msobkow ( 48369 )

        Then the technology doesn't fly. They need permission from the person being identfied, so unless they contact everyone they can identify to give them a chance to opt out, they shouldn't be legal. It's not like an email system or an app where the user is being asked for permission.

        No one else has the right to give my permission by proxy -- especially not the glassholes.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This. If someone stares at me wearing those things without asking me first, I'll punch him or her in the face.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Assault and battery at a minimum.

        More likely get sued and have to pay their support for a couple of months.

        Some might even see that as a way to make a living. A bit painful for couple of days... but each lawsuit would pay for a months wages for three or four people.

        At your expense.

    • Re:No opt-out (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 24, 2013 @05:13AM (#45773775)

      Google glass is and has NEVER been meant to be a real marketable item, it is meant to see if people will accept it into society, and THEN put the lenses of cameras into 'normal' looking glasses, that you can't tell have the camera, or onto breast pocket or necklace deocrations, with the HUD eyepiece being built into normal looking glasses.

      Google glass purposely looks like glasses +(something) so that google can learn how others react to it.

      I thought all this was obvious, but apparently not from seeing everyone's reactions to this... PLUS what is everyone going to do when people have camera implants to give vision to the blind... or just 'body modification/improvement' ... THAT is the real question that we as a society need to address... also... gods... the MPAA/RIAA is going to bitch/moan about replacement eyes... and probably try to have DRM put into them so that they can't record movies/music, or turn off when you walk into a theater :/

      • That's an interesting idea. I think we forget that google (or any company willing to take these technologies right now) have the best(as in most capable) minds in their hands. And while it's true that we should never forget that there is a thing called stupidity, it wouldn't do any harm to go for a what-if. After all, this could certainly be the point where we define just how the technology is going to grow and how is it going to enter our lives, with small adjustments afterwards. Changing course afterwards

  • The hardware is not ready, at least not until they use hardware to build composite mutation-images that show relevant (pixel) changes only. There is no point in trying to parse a single image a second, or -on the opposite side- a video stream.

    In my opinion, efficient wearable vision software should ignore lower quality versions of what it already saw, it would make a huge efficiency leap. I believe this architecture ultimately would be a software skeleton for a mental world reconstruction much like humans p

  • Just thinking about this and wondering how much bird I'll get the first time I punch a Glasshole.
  • Glass users! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by KliX ( 164895 ) on Tuesday December 24, 2013 @04:49AM (#45773703)

    I hope you're ready to get the shit kicked out of you, because that's inevitably what's going to happen. I can't really see how it isn't going to happen.

    I suspect it'll happen so frequently, that the police in any state won't even bother to charge anyone doing so with a crime after a short while.

    Good luck!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 24, 2013 @04:49AM (#45773705)

    Just tattoo the standard robots.txt entries on your forehead, and Google Glass will obey. Don't want to be indexed at all? Disallow: * Or perhaps you just don't want people to see your stomach? Disallow: stomach. You can also keep stalkers at bay with a simple "Noindex,nofollow" above your lips.

  • Yes! Please! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I am completely unable to remember the names of people even in my small office. "Oh, you need to talk to Sam about that"... Shit. Sam who? I can't ask; I've been here three years! And the name's gender neutral even!

    The ten or so people I interact with on a daily basis; fine - but beyond that? Argh!

    So yes. Yes please. This is a WONDERFUL aid for an uncommon disability. And pretty much EVERY feature of wearable computing that was promised to be useful; context-based calenders, noting down things you'

    • Re:Yes! Please! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by SuricouRaven ( 1897204 ) on Tuesday December 24, 2013 @05:40AM (#45773883)

      Try working in a school. I long ago stopped trying to track the number of times I catch some student destroying school property. There's nothing I can do: I can't identify them, they know well enough to lie if asked for a name, they all refuse to wear their name badges*, and if confronted they run away. Staff are forbidden from ever making any sort of physical contact with a student (As this could result in the student making a claim of assault and suing the school), so they can get away with just about anything so long as they aren't in sight of a teacher who can recognise them. There are two thousand-odd students, I can't memorise every face!

      *The girls in particular have some strange phobia about letting anyone see their photograph, as they all consider it hideous.

      • Actually, google glass wouldn't help here. They'd be forbidden instantly: We also don't permit any photographs be taken of students, nor do we allow even the use of cameras on site except for those students on photography courses, on the grounds that taking a photo of a child could be seen as preparing for sexual abuse.

        Yes, I live in the UK. The country where everyone is a pedophile until proven otherwise.

    • by Kijori ( 897770 )

      Just ask - "I'm sorry, I'm having one of those days - who is that?". If that's too embarrassing, just ask if they can remind you where Sam's desk is.

      Struggling to remember the names of people outside your immediate department is not an "uncommon disability". Yes, it sounds like you have more trouble than most people, but it's perfectly normal to forget peoples' names. That's why people are so impressed when someone knows everyone's name in a company.

      Everyone has been in that exact situation, and they aren't

  • The authors intend to allow people to opt-out of the recognition database.

    Like Facebook lets you "opt out" of stuff?

    Fair warning to Google Glass wearers in near future: people will sucker-punch you and destroy your toy.

    I certainly won't guarantee your safety if I see you with one pointing in my direction.

    • Re:Yeah. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Arancaytar ( 966377 ) <> on Tuesday December 24, 2013 @06:04AM (#45773983) Homepage

      Assault someone in view of a wirelessly connected camera. That's a genius plan.

      • by xelah ( 176252 )
        Look at how many people say this. Look at how many people do stupid things right in front of cameras, or commit obviously detectable crimes because they're very angry. Look at how many people get punched in bars with no legal consequences. Look at how if you get punched in the street in the UK on a Saturday night you'll probably get arrested (a blogging policeman once said this happens because there's always a counter-accusation and it's easier to arrest everyone vaguely related and sort it out in the polic
  • by some old guy ( 674482 ) on Tuesday December 24, 2013 @05:14AM (#45773783)

    The boys at the Fort Meade KGB (oops, I mean NSA) HQ are throwing a party, while the local pigs are ordering extra sprinkles on their doughnuts as we speak.

    Glass is the ultimate (to date) example of why "because we can" technology is a very bad thing.

    And yes, even though I don't befriend the kind of narcissist that would use Glass, if one shows up at my home or office they will be asked to leave and never return. No exceptions. None.

    • by Ultra64 ( 318705 )

      >the kind of narcissist that would use Glass

      This doesn't even make any sense, unless you are implying that they'd be staring at themselves in the mirror all the time.

    • I'd imagine the local pigs are looking rather worried. The US has a few issues with police getting carried away with their authority. The use of cellphones made it a little bit harder for them to abuse their power and intimidate people, but only a little - few people pull out their phones to record traffic stops, and if you try it there's a good chance the cop will make up something to arrest you for on the spot just out of annoyance. Add Glass though - potentially a device where recording everything is as

      • One word: dossier.

        The rub is not with the user, but with the records. This sort of thing would make a lovely tool for establishing proximity to a crime scene as part of a contrived case. A perfectly innocent act of common public politeness by a passing stranger involving the actual purp could easily be portrayed as complicity.

        Prosecutors and police routinely lie, distort, and intimidate. It's in their job description.

  • by Ultra64 ( 318705 ) on Tuesday December 24, 2013 @05:25AM (#45773837)

    When did Slashdot become so full of luddites?

    Years ago there would have been nothing but comments full of ideas for amazing things you accomplish using a device like this.

    Now it seems like the site is populated almost entirely by pubescent teenagers acting macho and boasting how they'd beat someone up and break their glasses.

    • by msobkow ( 48369 )

      The NSA's spying is clearly technically feasible. Boston has been scanning license plates to identify vehicles, not people.

      Are you ok with that, too?

      If it's not ok for the government or police to spy on you, why some random stranger?

      Even the TSA doesn't use technology like this.

    • Years ago adverts didn't follow you around the web, stalking you. Companies like Facebook didn't create shadow profiles of people who hadn't even signed up. The NSA/GCHQ wasn't known to be spying on everyone and strongly suspected of having access to traffic from this kind of application to build a vast tracking/facial recognition database without the need to get approval for rolling out the technology themselves.

      Basically, there wasn't the abuse that there is now, at least not on such a large scale.

  • Until everyone is wearing a ballroom mask.

  • by Selur ( 2745445 ) on Tuesday December 24, 2013 @05:54AM (#45773937)

    1. goto the airport check for people which take a long distance flight
    2. check a few names
    3. lookup facebook&co to get an idea whether they live alone or not
    4. search the local phone book (or similar) to check where they live
    5. drive over to their home and rob the place if no one is there

    step 1. could be replaced with a static camera
    step 2.-4. could be replaced with a script

    Also monitoring someones home with a static camera (could also be mounted on a drone) should make it really easy to create a general schedule plan for when which people regularly come and go -> no more man power intensive stake outs! :)

    Face recognition has so many nice applications, can't imagine anything going really wrong. :D

    • Why?
      Far easier to:
      1) Pick an area at around 7pm when it is dark outside and see what lights are not on.
      2) Rob the place.
  • by Tom ( 822 ) on Tuesday December 24, 2013 @05:57AM (#45773945) Homepage Journal

    I want glasses with facial recognition. In fact, if it worked the way I want it to, I'd buy them tomorrow.

    I don't want this 1984 "we'll stalk everyone on the Internet for you" bullshit. I couldn't care less what the guy opposite me on the bus posted on Twitter this morning. I really, really don't give a fuck.

    All I want is my own personal database of the people I know. They come in three categories:

    1. People I know really well - don't need a database on them, already have it in my head
    2. People I know well - I know their names and basic details, but a database that reminds me they had a birthday this week or other additional details I may or may not remember would be cool
    3. People I barely know - this is what I want it for. I have a horrible memory for names even though I almost always remember a face. Show me their name and when and where we last met and my social life would be a lot easier.

    And /. doesn't do ordered lists. wtf?

  • by Gavagai80 ( 1275204 ) on Tuesday December 24, 2013 @05:57AM (#45773951) Homepage
    Seems like some of the easiest public sources to recognize and associate faces from would be police mugshot databases and sex offender databases. Will former criminals be actively shunned everywhere they go in public, or even subject to mob violence?
  • by Electricity Likes Me ( 1098643 ) on Tuesday December 24, 2013 @10:21AM (#45775007)

    ...saying they'll punch someone in the face if they wear Google Glass near them.

    Without looking at any other comments, was I right?

Nondeterminism means never having to say you are wrong.