Riya, the well-hyped facial recognition software provider, had a "launch" party a few weeks ago, though they didn't actually seem to launch there. I showed up a bit late and missed the actual "demo" part, and when asked, the folks at Riya would only say that they couldn't show the demo again (in fact, they said "in a few months"). Usually a launch means that the product can be shown. However, the idea of simple facial recognition software that can scan through your photos and tell you who's who is already worrying some folks about privacy issues. While the technology has proven absolutely useless in catching random criminals walking down the street, it certainly could work much better in a more narrow environment of picking out which of your pictures include your brother. The privacy fear is that if you're ever caught on film anywhere, even in the background somewhere, a record may go online about where you were. From what Riya has said, this is unlikely to be a huge problem, as it only puts up names from within your dataset of people. That is, it doesn't look through everyone else's photos to name yours -- and if you don't know who the random guy walking in the background is, Riya isn't likely to tell you. Still, it's possible that others could go down that path eventually -- and at that point the least of our problems may be if someone spots you somewhere you shouldn't be. Who needs face transplants? A little photoshopping can put your face anywhere, opening up all sorts of legal issues that make silly arguments over fake Wikipedia bios pale in comparison. Though, if anything, perhaps that's the best way to solve the privacy issue. Just set up a different program that morphs your head onto all sorts of photos and litters the internet with them. Then it will be impossible for anyone to know which photos are real. Voila, problem solved.
If you liked this post, you may also be interested in...
- Stopping 23andMe Will Only Delay The Revolution Medicine Needs
- Abusing The Surveillance Scandal To Punish Internet Freedom Even More
- Bruce Schneier On The Feudal Internet And How To Fight It
- US Free Trade Agreements Are Bad Not Just For The Economy, But For The Environment, Too
- James Clapper Thinks That NSA Employees Will Sell Out Our Nation After A Few Days Without A Paycheck