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EFF: Americans May Not Know It, But Many Are In a Face Recognition Database Now

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the smile-you're-in-the-database dept.

Facebook 152

colinneagle writes "People are not going to, nor should they have to, start walking around outside with a bag over their head to avoid security cameras capturing images of them. Yet 'face recognition allows for covert, remote and mass capture and identification of images — and the photos that may end up in a database include not just a person's face but also how she is dressed and possibly whom she is with. This creates threats to free association and free expression not evident in other biometrics,' testified EFF Staff Attorney Jennifer Lynch. There are 32 states that use some form of facial recognition for DMV photos. Every day, Facebook happily slurps up and automatically scans with facial recognition software about 300 million photos that users upload to the social networking giant. 'Face recognition is here to stay, and, though many Americans may not realize it, they are already in a face recognition database,' Lynch said. In fact, when you stop to consider Facebook "at least 54% of the United States population already has a face print." Now it purchased Face.com which had 31 billion face images profiled."

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31 billion face images profiled? (4, Funny)

jc42 (318812) | more than 2 years ago | (#40706927)

Whaddaya wanna bet that there are no more than 15 billion distinct faces in that collection?

Re:31 billion face images profiled? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40707225)

I for one wear the burqa. So fuck them! Allah Ackybars

Re:31 billion face images profiled? (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 2 years ago | (#40707297)

No, the rest are visiting aliens from Betelgeuse...

Re:31 billion face images profiled? (-1, Troll)

jo42 (227475) | more than 2 years ago | (#40707421)

You mean Bangalore...

- Member of the (white) minority in a neighborhood in a North American city.

Re:31 billion face images profiled? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40708843)

"No, the rest are visiting aliens from Betelgeuse..."

Betelgeuse?

Betelgeuse?

Re:31 billion face images profiled? (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#40707527)

Whaddaya wanna bet that there are no more than 15 billion distinct faces in that collection?

How many with a figure up the nose to the second knuckle?

third knuckle, coulda been him, but maybe not...

Only as good as the data (5, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 2 years ago | (#40706929)

I suppose then I have nothing to worry about, since my profile pics are usually cartoons, inanimate objects, and internet memes.

TSA Agent: "Uhh, miss, you don't look anything like your photo." (holds up photo of pedobear)
Me: (triple facepalm)

Re:Only as good as the data (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40706941)

Worse possibility: "Uhh miss, you look exactly like your photo...you're under arrest"

Re:Only as good as the data (4, Insightful)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 2 years ago | (#40707107)

The problem is your 'work' and 'education' images flow into the system.
Your 3rd or 4th year prof, the nice one do DoD work? Work with a DoD cleared .com? Work on some public/private security board?
They clear his/her family, friends and "colleagues" and any students.
Want a bank account, passport, trendy job, home? Your going to have to prove who you are more and more.
Local Feature Analysis (LFA) vs the hinted at speed of nodal point databases and say the known US populations size...
The only block in the past was states that went cheap on their DMV databases. Create a card and keep that local database running was about all they could do.
So have fun at your next peace or Tibet or green or wealth protest event. Digital or real someone has you face and ip :)

Re:Only as good as the data (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40707315)

At least in the USA nobody can ID you when it comes time to vote...

Paranoid privacy nut's response (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40707607)

"Well...shit."

Re:Only as good as the data (2)

AaronMK (1375465) | more than 2 years ago | (#40707415)

As soon as someone tags you in a photo on a social networking site, that cartoon profile pic cover is blown.

Re:Only as good as the data (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#40707921)

or you could be tagged along with 50 other people in a lolcat that a friend wanted you all to see.

You are naive (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40707429)

I think you're being naive, I am very careful never to post any image of myself anywhere, and yet when I go looking in Facebook I can find images of me associated with my name.

The trouble is, people who know will keep posting pictures and then identifying those pictures. They have no idea what a nightmare they're creating for themselves.

When one of my wifes friends split with her boyfriend, he dug through her facebook friends and started visiting them at home to see if his ex was staying. Suddenly they all realize what they've done with their FB data sharing, but by then its too late.

So you can say you've been careful, but can you say that about everyone you know, who knows you??

Re:You are naive (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 2 years ago | (#40708555)

I don't see how not being on Facebook would have prevented it. Being her boyfriend, he'd have access to her other contact lists as well.

Re:You are naive (4, Insightful)

bieber (998013) | more than 2 years ago | (#40708613)

If you're that worried about obscenely uncommon edge cases, you might as well just lock yourself up in your house (the location of which you'll presumably permit no one to know) and never see the light of day again. Every time you go out in public people get the chance to see you, to interact with you, to find out who you are. And you know what? The vast, vast majority of the time that's exactly what you want: community is the most basic element of our existence, and we thrive on being connected to other people.

Facebook is just one more means to share information that I want people to know. Is it remotely possible that some creep could end up using information shared on Facebook to stalk or harass me? Sure. However, it's an absolute fact that being able to rapidly share photos, events, even just amusing little quips for friends to see, respond to and comment on is a great boon. For the price of a couple minutes spared glancing through my newsfeed every now and then, I can get a quick overview of what the people I care about (and even ones that I only peripherally care about) are up to. Instead of contacts going stale when people move away and get preoccupied with their new lives, I'm able to keep in at least light contact with dozens of people from my past who would have otherwise been all but forgotten by now, keep track of what they're up to and find out when our locations happen to coincide.

Is listing your home address on FB next to photos of your children and setting your privacy level to "public" a great idea? Certainly not, but taking a reasonable, measured approach to social networking certainly is. If someone on the Internet is able to somehow find a photo of my face with my name attached to it, I'm sorry but it just doesn't seem like too hefty a concern to me.

Re:You are naive (3, Insightful)

Jahta (1141213) | more than 2 years ago | (#40708853)

If you're that worried about obscenely uncommon edge cases, you might as well just lock yourself up in your house.

Increasingly, this is sadly not an edge case.

BBC News - Facial recognition marks the end of anonymity [bbc.co.uk]

Being able to photograph a random stranger and, with the picture, pull up personal details about the person is genuinely disturbing.

Re:Only as good as the data (2)

thereitis (2355426) | more than 2 years ago | (#40707491)

It's all fun and games today - we can drop our social networking sites or choose not to participate and it's no big deal.

I'm waiting for the day when insurance companies get in on the game and give you discounts or increase your rates depending on data mining of your social profile. If you want those discounts, you hand them the social data (like how people give up their purchasing data with store loyalty cards). If you refuse to provide that data, you get the"standard" (read: expensive) rate.

I am fairly certain it's only a matter of time before this happens, if we let it.

Re:Only as good as the data (4, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 2 years ago | (#40707519)

You're a fool if you think that kind of thing is going to protect you. In fact, it probably makes it easier for them to identify you. Do they care what you're face really looks like? Not at all... their sole goal is to ID you when you visit some site, so they know what to try and sell you. If your profile pic is the FreeBSD devil, and your at the same IP with the same browser they picked up from that porn site you were just at... they pretty much have you. You are not, even remotely, anonymous on the internet. Assume that every website you visit has every bit of information about you that's on your drivers license and knows every site you've visited in the past couple of years, irrelevant of any security steps you took. Because the fact of the matter is, if they're willing to pay for the right software, that's exactly the kind of detail they have. I'm not just being paranoid, I've seen this software work on the back end. There are multiple companies out there offering it, it's cheap in enterprise terms. I think the only real hurtle so far has being the imaginations of marketing departments. The data is there... it's the smarts to do something terrible with it that have yet to arrive. 1984 was a joke compared to what's on the way if we let this keep heading where it's going. And it certainly seems like we are.

Think about it like this. Given that what ever you post here will likely be stored forever... and given what you think is likely to happen over your lifetime with all this stored data... would you be willing to denounce the government that rules whatever country you're from right here for all to see? Maybe you would... but you hesitated... you thought about it for a second. And the fact that you have to even be slightly concerned about what you said, means we're all truly, and completely fucked.

Re:Only as good as the data (1)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | more than 2 years ago | (#40708105)

I didn't hesitate.
Fuck the US government.

The key is to organize your life so that such things can have no impact on you either way. Like me, for example - I'm unemployable. Problem solved.

frst post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40706931)

frist!

Re:frst post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40706949)

Wrong, but that's ok we captured your face on our recognition system and are now in the process of tracking you down to tattoo "I was not first" on your forehead for easier tracking in the future.

Is there also a (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40706933)

breast recognition database?

Re:Is there also a (1)

Hsien-Ko (1090623) | more than 2 years ago | (#40706975)

I'd be more worried about an ass recognition database.

What's the difference?

Re:Is there also a (3, Interesting)

bughunter (10093) | more than 2 years ago | (#40707063)

You're joking, but it's entirely possible.

I recall when I was in High School (in the days of acid-washed jeans and dolphin shorts) I could recognize all the hot girls from a quarter mile away just by the shape and movement of their asses, which I had carefully observed and memorized for later recall.

Re:Is there also a (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#40707363)

You're joking, but it's entirely possible.

Yep, we'd recognize the goatse guy anywhere.

Re:Is there also a (2)

Doctor_Jest (688315) | more than 2 years ago | (#40707545)

He's shaved since then, though....

Re:Is there also a (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40708113)

actually some internet super sleuth IDed the goatse guy based on his hands. he found some other butt stretching images with the same fingers and ring and then used those to match to non x-rated usenet posts by the same dude. I'm sure google will bring it up if you search for it. It's funny though back in the day goatse was so damn disturbing and nasty but by today's standards he's mild. hell a lot of pornos now the dude will like goatse the chick he's fucking, like whip his shlong out of her ass and then reach in and goatse her, maybe not as much as the goatman himself but still, seeing gaping anuses just doesn't have the same impact it once did.

Re:Is there also a (0)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 2 years ago | (#40708287)

What the hell kind of bugs were you hunting in high school?

Re:Is there also a (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40706977)

Yes miss these may look like hands but I assure you they are just breast scanners to add your particulars to our database. Don't worry, this wont hurt a bit.

hats (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40706961)

I predict an increase in sales of hats, hoodies and any fashion item thats assists the general public in maintaining some privacy.

Re:hats (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40707333)

Except you can't wear hats, hoodies, or other fashion items like sunglasses in government offices, banks, or some (soon to be most) other businesses.

Once again technology has outrun common sense and common decency.

Re:hats (2)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#40707385)

Except you can't wear hats, hoodies, or other fashion items like sunglasses in government offices, banks, or some (soon to be most) other businesses.

Huh? I always wear a hat, and have had no problems in banks so far.

Re:hats (0)

jo42 (227475) | more than 2 years ago | (#40707439)

Huh? I always wear a hat, and have had no problems in banks so far.

A Yarmulke isn't a hat.

Re:hats (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#40707509)

A Yarmulke isn't a hat.

Wrong ethnicity.
Sixpence, fedora, bobble hat, ushanka, homburg.

The closest thing I have to a yarmulke would be a nightcap. Granted, I have not tried going to the bank wearing that.

Re:hats (1)

Travelsonic (870859) | more than 2 years ago | (#40707595)

I wear a fedoa going into / out of a bank at least 2 - 3 times a week - and I mean a rabbit fur fedora, not one of those douchebag-y cotton ones, or one off the good-looking-until-a-heavy-rainstorm wool fedoras, but real animal fur. Had no problems so far.

Minority Report (4, Insightful)

Andrio (2580551) | more than 2 years ago | (#40707001)

It'll end up like in Minority Report where the advertisements scanned people's eyes to identify and tailor ads to them. Only instead of eyes, faces will be scanned. Which is probably scarier, since scanning a face requires no special biometric equipment. It just needs an old fashioned camera and an internet connection, so that the face image can be sent to a server and processed.

Re:Minority Report (4, Funny)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#40707557)

It kind of makes me sad that all the dystopian capabilities are being created, but are mainly being used for advertising instead of the hot-evil-cool dystopia we were promised.

Re:Minority Report (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40707883)

Right, sure. It will only ever be used for advertising, because we can totally trust government to not use technology for evil.

Re:Minority Report (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 2 years ago | (#40708579)

The parent is lamenting the fact that governments are moving more and more towards soft power as a means of control. Sure, they'll use the new tech to disappear a few people here and there, but most of us will never know about it because soft power will be sufficient to totally control us. The 1984 we were promised will never happen because, it turns out, people are more easily controlled than anybody had imagined.

Re:Minority Report (3, Funny)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 2 years ago | (#40708547)

If you want a picture of the future, imagine a Coke ad stamped on a human face — forever.

Re:Minority Report (2)

isorox (205688) | more than 2 years ago | (#40707797)

It'll end up like in Minority Report where the advertisements scanned people's eyes to identify and tailor ads to them. Only instead of eyes, faces will be scanned. Which is probably scarier, since scanning a face requires no special biometric equipment. It just needs an old fashioned camera and an internet connection, so that the face image can be sent to a server and processed.

I'm registered for IRIS entry into the UK, it's brilliant and saves me hours every month. It takes a while to read my iris pattern (look into the mirror, stand a little closer)

When I fly domestically, they have recently started using face recognition at Heathrow, rather than an old fashioned camera. Out of 4 trips in the last 2 weeks, this has failed 3 times, despite standing at the exact spot, looking in the exact place, and waiting for 20 seconds while the lights stay red.

Re:Minority Report (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40707827)

It's like my daddy used to say, in the land of the faceless the one-faced man is king.

Re:Minority Report (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40708509)

Mr. Matsumoto?!?

Only women? (2, Funny)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 2 years ago | (#40707011)

not just a person's face but also how she is dressed and possibly whom she is with.

Funny, I didn't notice anything about the technology only working on females.

Re:Only women? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40707207)

-1 Moron

Re:Only women? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40707909)

That's the special version of the system sold to the northern parts of Pakistan.

Facebook is the devil (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40707021)

For the longest time I didn't have a Facebook page because I am a very private person. I used an avatar instead of a photograph thinking that that would suffice.

The very next day when I logged in I saw that multiple people had uploaded photos with me in them, tagged me and added my full name after I had SPECIFICALLY asked them NOT to do so. They laughed it off and eventually got angry when they realized how pissed off I was. When I told one to remove the photos she point blank said, "No. Because you're being fucking PARANOID. This'll do you some good."

So yeah, I'm sure that I'm in there. Screw people.

Re:Facebook is the devil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40707101)

Better not to have a Facebook in the first place. It doesn't do anything you can't do without it, and it just opens you up to all kinds of crap. Not having one (and blocking their scripts and "like"buttons) isn't perfect, but it does help.

Re:Facebook is the devil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40707891)

Look up shadow profiles some day. Facebook denies they exist, but they also used to claim that they deleted user account instead of archiving them forever.
I gave in and got a FB account when I realised that half of my family was naming me in photos, talking about me, and generally publicising my existance. At least now I know most of what they say about me, and can put out some generally innocuous comments of my own as filler.

Re:Facebook is the devil (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40707289)

So much this..

This feels like one of those things that should actually be illegal somehow.. but I can't think of any sane way to frame what exactly is being violated and why it shouldn't be ok..

Maybe it should go under the same laws that prevent the media from showing your face on TV without your permission?

Re:Facebook is the devil (3, Interesting)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#40707311)

For the longest time I didn't have a Facebook page because I am a very private person. I used an avatar instead of a photograph thinking that that would suffice.

The very next day when I logged in I saw that multiple people had uploaded photos with me in them, tagged me and added my full name after I had SPECIFICALLY asked them NOT to do so. They laughed it off and eventually got angry when they realized how pissed off I was. When I told one to remove the photos she point blank said, "No. Because you're being fucking PARANOID. This'll do you some good."

The problem was the opposite - you weren't paranoid, but too unconcerned. You "friended" people you had no reason to trust, and it turned out they weren't trustworthy.

I have used Facebook for exactly one thing - creating an empty profile and then deliberately disabling the associated e-mail address and erasing the password.
Friends? That's people who have earned my trust, and my friendship and trust does not extend to their friends.
I'd rather have five friends than fifty "friends".

There are 3-4 pictures of me on the Internet, but none of them are good enough to recognize me by. And that's fine with me. I'm far from anonymous, but I'm not public domain either.

Re:Facebook is the devil (1)

Cthefuture (665326) | more than 2 years ago | (#40708151)

People can tag anyone on Facebook. A random person could take a picture of you and tag you in it without you even having a Facebook account.

Re:Facebook is the devil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40708209)

you are naive.

It only takes one birthday lunch, conference, etc...

You have no control, everyone has a camera, people will tag you.

Re:Facebook is the devil (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40707741)

That's why I avoid making friends with humans. A chimp might rip your face off but he'll never giver your email address to spammers or tag you on Facebook without permission.

Re:Facebook is the devil (0)

twocows (1216842) | more than 2 years ago | (#40708099)

That's illegal, and you can take action. If she's not going to respect your wishes, she's not your friend.

Re:Facebook is the devil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40708223)

information wants to be free and people want to share.

Re:Facebook is the devil (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 2 years ago | (#40708711)

Facebook avoiders are ridiculous. Do you honestly think the government doesn't have your picture? Or that advertisers can't figure out your demographic? Unless you literally live under a rock, off the grid and no one knows you, all you're succeeding at is being a troglodyte.

The Onion Had It Right... (4, Informative)

middlemen (765373) | more than 2 years ago | (#40707109)

http://www.theonion.com/video/cias-facebook-program-dramatically-cut-agencys-cos,19753/ [theonion.com] Months ago the Onion came out with this news.. the EFF is just catching up to the reality of it.

Re:The Onion Had It Right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40707649)

The Onion is so prophetic it's actually sickening.

I wear my sunglasses at night... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40707125)

People are not going to, nor should they have to, start walking around outside with a bag over their head to avoid security cameras capturing images of them.

Of course not.

yep (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40707131)

What did you think Facebook was?

OMFG NOT WHAT SHE WEARS! (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#40707143)

Seeing a woman's clothes would be just the worst thing ever about this entire photo system!

Please try again when you have a story

Re:OMFG NOT WHAT SHE WEARS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40707163)

Eat a lot of paint chips when you were a kid?

Re:OMFG NOT WHAT SHE WEARS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40707451)

Fuck yeah! Love me sum mother fuckin' paint crispies bro!

Last Laugh (2)

tpstigers (1075021) | more than 2 years ago | (#40707181)

They all scoffed when I went to grad school to get my Master of Disguise degree.....

Is there any point to getting worked up over this? (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#40707201)

I mean, unless it's possible for anybody to arbitrarily bring up pictures of a person just by typing in their name, I'm really not so sure I see the point in wasting energy worrying about whether or not my own face is in such a database.

Re:Is there any point to getting worked up over th (2)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 2 years ago | (#40707305)

Depends who has seen you and what they want.
http://www.gadgetbox.msnbc.msn.com/technology/gadgetbox/look-whos-stalking-10-creepiest-apps-658042 [msn.com]
It also depends on they term "anybody" and "arbitrarily".
Get photographed near a protest - inner city financial district, military base, upset an agent provocateur ...
A few years later you want a good job, fly to distant family - you where just passing, going to work that day - could come back to haunt you.
Many of the databases are one way. No low cost state lawyer or court can make it all better.

Re:Is there any point to getting worked up over th (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40707377)

The existance of the pictures and the existance of recorded footage is enough to do biometric matching, think beyond mere advertisers, they are the least of your worries.

HAH! (2)

the_Bionic_lemming (446569) | more than 2 years ago | (#40707219)

I knew my large beard would come in handy!

I can rob a bank then just shave it off!

And yes, I really do have a magnificent beard. a few more years and I'll be ready to join ZZ Top! Facial hair for the obfuscation!

Re:HAH! (1)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 2 years ago | (#40707911)

Any sufficiently oppressive government could just ban excessive facial hair, defined as any amount of hair which interferes with your face being reliably scanned.

Really? (1)

Mitaphane (96828) | more than 2 years ago | (#40707229)

I thought most people know whether or not they have a Facebook account.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40707287)

See the post a few above yours to see why that does not matter. I don't use Facebook, but my partner does, ergo my image is on Facebook bigtime and is therefore in a massive database.

Re:Really? (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#40707431)

See the post a few above yours to see why that does not matter. I don't use Facebook, but my partner does, ergo my image is on Facebook bigtime and is therefore in a massive database.

Time to get a new partner who actually cares about how you feel about privacy. Mine know how I feel and would never post a picture of me online, even if they post pictures of themselves. It's called respect. Without it, there's no partnership and no future.

What about the Activists? (4, Interesting)

Midnight_Falcon (2432802) | more than 2 years ago | (#40707231)

Of course, it's concerning that facebook profiles, pictures of you going through customs or from a drivers license etc, are now beginning to be tapped into by the government and private sector alike.
In this case, while I think it's a cause for concern for almost every facebook user, the folks I have the most concern about are activists of various sorts.

Facebook, while famed for its use in the Arab Spring for facilitating communication between activists, hardly seems like a bastion of privacy for US citizens. The Arab spring was a bit different than the activism the US or other Western governments would like to target though -- in fact, they encouraged the uprisings. What about forms of dissent that the US or Western governments don't like?
The most prominent recent example is Occupy Wall Street, and regardless what you think about their message, it's easy to see how some subpoenas to facebook could be used to completely subvert an opposition organization. They would be able to find who these activists are without even arresting them -- they'd be able to use facial recognition software, get information on all their friends and relationships on facebook, and then track them between rallies and protests etc. with more facial recognition.

Imagine if the FBI had this ability in the 1960s to crack down on the civil rights movement?

Maybe a decentralized, p2p form of social networking will make facial recognition and tracking etc more difficult for governments and private companies in the future? Or is it already too late for most since the information is all on Facebook to stay?

Re:What about the Activists? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40707405)

You fucking nailed this. How many people are in america? enough that they arent actively reading each of our walls or our texts. All that data will be there when they need it though and thats the problem. Hitler and Lenin took out political opposition before they went for the people.

Re:What about the Activists? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40707413)

Also what sucks is they can now retroactively use old photos for this. When I was younger (way back in the 00s) I went to a lot of anti-war demonstrations and needless to say the NYPD was video taping everything but back in '03 or whatever I wasn't really expecting to get put into a government watchlist thanks to facial recognition technology...but I supposed I should have since I was a computer science major. I was a naive kid though I thought we would have a Linux desktop now instead of a mega face database but live and learn.

Re:What about the Activists? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40707575)

Why would governments even care about anti-war demonstrations?

Re:What about the Activists? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40707593)

I don't know why don't you ask the NYPD.

Re:What about the Activists? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40707615)

it's easy to see how some subpoenas to facebook could be used to completely subvert an opposition organization.

Just recently BMG illegally took down a political campaign ad from Barack Obama's opposition. Of course, I know that Barack Obama's minions had nothing to do with this. So no subversion going on here.

Mitt Romney's ad was criticizing Barack Obama, therefore it clearly falls under Section 107 (Fair Use) of US Copyright.

Re:What about the Activists? (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | more than 2 years ago | (#40708753)

Just recently BMG illegally took down a political campaign ad from Barack Obama's opposition. Of course, I know that Barack Obama's minions had nothing to do with this. So no subversion going on here.

Mitt Romney's ad was criticizing Barack Obama, therefore it clearly falls under Section 107 (Fair Use) of US Copyright.

I'm guessing the campaign ad was on youtube or somesuch? The moral of the story is: If you're running a political campaign, host your own damned content.

us white folks still safe, it's all good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40707237)

Luckily US goverment facial recognition software still consists of checking histogram results. Don't apply too much fake tan, ladies, or YOU'LL end up in the lineup!

Lovely (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40707321)

Obama Nazi Government can pick, choose and photoshop their 'terrorist' de jour.

Our tax dollars, and soon ObamaCare Tax dollars at work.

LoL

I have have been saying it for a while. (2)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 2 years ago | (#40707425)

I have have been saying it for a while to many people. Not only face recognition which is more recent while voice recognition has been around for decades.

AI systems generates reports for humans to handle. Depending on the humans handling the reports, handling techniques may vary. With well trained handlers, it works well with very few false positives. Unfortunately, well trained handlers are rare and more and more of that functionality is being made available to untrained people.

Now I'm nervous (1)

Grayhand (2610049) | more than 2 years ago | (#40707603)

"In fact, when you stop to consider Facebook "at least 54% of the United States population already has a face print.",

If Gimili the Dwarf ever commits a crime I'm fucked.

The Light of Other Days (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40707611)

If you're interested in seeing a unique take on this concept, I'd suggest the novel "The Light of Other Days" by Stephen Baxter and Arthur C Clarke. It's only a minor point in the book, but it shows an interesting way the authors thought a group of people might react to constant unavoidable surveillance.

Right to Observe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40707619)

Many may feel this is a violation of privacy; however, I do believe there is no expectation of privacy in public. People should have a right to observe and record in public, as well as institutions (government, business, etc). We should all be able to do so. If it's not machines doing it, then its people anyways. So what they form a database? That comes with all sorts of issues. Who knows if it's even useful or relevant. Let people observe, collect and store given the boundray is clearly in public only.

My .02

Re:Right to Observe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40707691)

People should have a right to observe and record in public

Why? Not observing is impossible to expect someone to do, but we can certainly expect them to not record! Trust me, it's possible. We just need a law banning it.

So what they form a database?

Yeah! Who cares about corrupt governments or corporations? Observe away with your unavoidable cameras!

Re:Right to Observe (2)

ATMAvatar (648864) | more than 2 years ago | (#40707953)

It isn't limited to the public. You went to work the day they were taking company photos? You're probably in a photo database somewhere. Go to a small party at a friend's house? See that person taking pictures on their phone? You probably just ended up in multiple photo databases.

Anymore, the only way to not end up in a database is to shut yourself inside your apartment/house, never have any guests, and never leave.

The US government may not be openly using the photos for nefarious ends, but prospective employers make no effort to hide the fact that pictures of you they find online can and will impact whether you get hired.

Re:Right to Observe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40708447)

I'm the anon from before. I can see how this is problematic.

It's not that they don't know... (1)

Trilkin (2042026) | more than 2 years ago | (#40707625)

...it's more like - there isn't a shit load we can do about it, so no one cares.

I recognize your evil twin (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40707663)

The face recognition demos are nothing more than sales gimmicks. Once you add more faces to the database the misrecognition rate approaches infinity. System is somewhat able to pick high worth targets out of a crowd but worthless if your goal is mass surveillance.

How US agencies are using this technology ... (2)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 2 years ago | (#40707767)

There was a good article about this in The Economist: http://www.economist.com/node/21558263 [economist.com]

Few of Afghanistan's 30m people have a birth certificate, a second name or can read. Yet America's army and the Afghan government have collected digital records of more than 2.5m of them. Elsewhere such intrusions would have caused an outcry. But few Afghans, so far, have protested. American officers praise the technology as a helpful counter-insurgency tool: if opponents can be identified, they can be separated from the wider, law-abiding populace.

The data are passed on beyond Afghanistan, to America's army, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. Agreements to share data exist with dozens of allied countries. American soldiers in Ghazni once described scanning a dead insurgent, then two days later getting a call from the CIA to say that his record matched someone first scanned in Iraq. Yet as the system grows, so do worries about it. It is involuntary and shrouded in secrecy. It is easy to come across Afghans who claim that they were wrongly denied foreign visas or jobs after a biometric scan flagged up their presence on some watchlist. Evidence held against them is rarely divulged, nor is it clear how they can challenge it.

“There is a vetting process to be put on a watchlist,” says Sergeant-Major Robert Haemmerle, of the American army's Afghanistan biometrics programme. “It's not just a matter of ‘I don't like this guy'. There is a deliberate policy and process to ensure that people's rights are respected, that it's not abused.”

Yet those policies and processes are kept classified by NATO and America's Defence Department. Jennifer Lynch, a lawyer at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a group based in San Francisco that keeps a watch on how digital technology encroaches on civil freedoms, also questions the quality of the data. She fears that scans done quickly in the field, or by inexperienced technicians, could lead to cases of mistaken identity.

But the more people who are scanned, the more powerful the database becomes.

But it's not like the US is scanning everyone who enters the country, and adding them to this database . . .

. . . yet.

I dunno what's better (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | more than 2 years ago | (#40707895)

It's like some sort of race to see which pays off more; me not joining facebook or me not investing in facebook. Anyone else in the same boat as me? I put up a fake profile for a week to see who from high school got fat and ugly but I was one of the thousand or so "Rusty Shackleford" accounts (very fitting if you know the reference btw). Image search him. I don't think they'll be finding that in a crowd lol.

tempest in a teapot (1)

khipu (2511498) | more than 2 years ago | (#40708333)

Face recognition software doesn't work like a barcode. Like a medical test, it has some error rate. So, even if people managed to get it down to an error rate of 1%, that means that a search will pull up 10000 people if you're living in a city of 1 million and you restrict the search to the city. Attempts by police to deploy face-based monitoring at airports and other public sites have been spectacular failures.

Like the Muzzies (0)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#40708795)

start walking around outside with a bag over their head to avoid security cameras capturing images of them. Yet 'face recognition allows for covert, remote and mass capture and identification of images — and the photos that may

You mean like [typepad.com] the Muzzies [faithfreedom.org] do [aclj.org]

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