Apparently, FBI's 'Forensics Team' Creates Aged Photos Of Terrorists By Doing Random Google Image Searches

from the is-that-copyright-infringement? dept

We've all seen those forensic "aging" pictures that are often used to try to show what a fugitive might look like now, when law enforcement doesn't have a recent photo available. I always assumed that there was some sort of science behind doing that. However, it appears that when it comes to the FBI, the way it's done is to do a Google Image search, find an image the FBI likes and then do a simple photo merge with the person they're trying to "age." Of course, that became a bit of a problem recently, when it came out that the photo the FBI used to age both Osama bin Laden and another senior al-Qaida leader, Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, happened to be a Spanish member of parliament named Gaspar Llamazares.
Llamazares is not happy about this -- especially since both of the people who his likeness was used to demonstrate have since been assassinated. He's now planning to sue the FBI. I am curious what charges he'll bring. I can't see anything really sticking, to be honest. There might be a copyright claim from whoever holds the copyright on the image -- and that would be pretty amusing, given the Justice Department's rather strong views on the absolute evils of copyright infringement. But really, the whole story seems pretty ridiculous.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Oct 14th, 2011 @ 12:14pm

    Hahaha

    "Llamazares is not happy about this -- especially since both of the people who his likeness was used to demonstrate have since been assassinated."

    I honestly just can't stop laughing at this sentence. God my government is stupid some times....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 14th, 2011 @ 12:24pm

    What, no cries of "fair use" and "non-commercial use" and all that stuff?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Oct 14th, 2011 @ 12:31pm

    Re: Hahaha

    It's even funnier if you think that FBI often make up its own terrorist plots and solves them. I"d be vewy vewy afraid if I were Llamazares. Since I'm not I'll just laugh hysterically and wish him good luck.

    I never thought posting your pics on Facebook could get you into terrorism plots lmao!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Oct 14th, 2011 @ 12:33pm

    Re:

    Fair use? Yeah, for sure but when it might put his life in danger if not mistakenly connect him to terrorists and give him all sorts of headaches in airports?? PRovide your picture for experimenting, please.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), Oct 14th, 2011 @ 12:36pm

    Surprised they don't regularly

    At the rate the US government seems to want to use my taxpayer money to fund the IP cartel, and to pass incredibly stupid laws to help fund them, I am not surprised they don't commit copyright infringement more often. That way they can just say "whoops" and directly hand over 150K per instance of infringement to those holding the copyright.

    At least using that method to siphon government funds for the copyright nutjobs wouldn't get ridiculous laws passed that harm all of humanity.

    (Might be exaggerating but not by much as the laws always harm the entire US citizenry at a minimum)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Oct 14th, 2011 @ 12:36pm

    Irony?

    On the "If you liked this post, you may also be interested in..."

    FBI Successful In Breaking Up Yet Another Of Its Own Plots To Bomb The US

    Does The FBI Really Use Surveillance Vans With WiFi SSIDs Saying 'FBI_SURVEILLANCE_VAN'?

    And I rofl'd.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    crade (profile), Oct 14th, 2011 @ 12:44pm

    isn't that george clooney?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    icon
    :Lobo Santo (profile), Oct 14th, 2011 @ 12:48pm

    Re:

    Couldn't be; George Clooney has perfect symmetry and a smaller nose.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    icon
    Rikuo (profile), Oct 14th, 2011 @ 12:52pm

    Re:

    Can't be George Clooney - a woman in her 40-50's just walked by my screen when I had that picture up and she didn't swoon.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 14th, 2011 @ 12:55pm

    Re: Hahaha

    "my government is stupid some times...."

    They're smart sometimes too ... :)

    J/k.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    icon
    gojomo (profile), Oct 14th, 2011 @ 12:58pm

    Attack of the Drones

    When the assassination drones home onto their targets by facial recognition, then he'll have a good case. Of course, then it may be too late (for him).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    icon
    aguywhoneedstenbucks (profile), Oct 14th, 2011 @ 1:09pm

    Re: Irony?

    Mine is FBI TORRENT TRACKER

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 14th, 2011 @ 1:35pm

    "I always assumed that there was some sort of science behind doing that. However, it appears that when it comes to the FBI, the way it's done is to do a Google Image search, find an image the FBI likes and then do a simple photo merge with the person they're trying to "age.""

    Oh, so that's how face aging works. I was always wondering about that. Let me see here.

    Michael Jackson + John McCain = George Bush (in ten years)

    Elvis Presley + George Washington = Arnold Schwarzenegger (in 20 years).

    Dick Cheney + Britney Spears = Donald Trump (in 15 years or so).

    I think I'm starting to get the hang of this.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    anonymous, Oct 14th, 2011 @ 1:44pm

    a case of 'mistaken identity' could drop him right in the crap! if an FBI agent doesn't know a person is already dead, he could be killed all over again. that would prove interesting! think of the publicity it could bring until it was revealed 'oops! we goofed again!'

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    hothmonster, Oct 14th, 2011 @ 2:10pm

    We can't trust this "Llamazares," if that is his real name, he looks like a terrorist.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    icon
    The Devil's Coachman (profile), Oct 14th, 2011 @ 2:52pm

    Re: Re: Hahaha

    Yeah, like when did that happen? Citations, please!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    icon
    The Devil's Coachman (profile), Oct 14th, 2011 @ 2:55pm

    Re:

    How about:

    Phyllis Diller + Joan Rivers = Lady Gaga (tomorrow morning, sans makeup)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    icon
    Shane C (profile), Oct 14th, 2011 @ 2:58pm

    Photographers viewpoint

    From the viewpoint of a photographer, I'd think he'd pursue defamation of character, libel, and probably a few other civil items. The FBI certainly knew (or should have known) who is was, and although he could be considered a celebrity, they definitely knew the situation was false.

    This is no different than the National Inquirer publishing a false story. The only way they get away with it on a regular basis, is they buy the stories from people that tell them it's true. Once they know it's false, publishing it would be negligence under the Sullivan rule. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_Times_Co._v._Sullivan)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    IPTroll, Oct 14th, 2011 @ 2:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: Hahaha

    http://www.fbi.gov/

    Go look, you'll find it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 14th, 2011 @ 3:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Hahaha

    ROFLOL, I just noticed, on the FBI's Website, it's National Cyber Security Awareness month.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 14th, 2011 @ 3:25pm

    "I am curious what charges he'll bring. I can't see anything really sticking"

    let me help your ideas.

    think about your mothers photo at a Poster of the National Whores Association.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 14th, 2011 @ 3:40pm

    Distraction

    I'm much more concerned about how US intelligence uses social networking any any other data it can gather to build profiles of people who they fell is someone who might commit a crime, then entrap the person by contact out of the blue with a total setup by the FBI, or simply take him out with a drone.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 14th, 2011 @ 4:10pm

    Re:

    That was my first thought. My next thought was the Coen Bros' film, Burn After Reading. At least we learned something today.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    icon
    Atkray (profile), Oct 14th, 2011 @ 5:08pm

    Re: OOTB

    Ahh,
    I wondered why he wasn't posting today.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    icon
    btr1701 (profile), Oct 14th, 2011 @ 6:40pm

    Re: Hahaha

    > God my government is stupid some times...

    Perhaps, but as Mike pointed out, there doesn't seem to be anything legally actionable here.

    I'm sure the plaintiff will try some silly stretch of some other cause of action to cover it, but that's no different than the government using 'computer hacking' to go after Lori Drew, which we're all pretty much against around here, right?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 14th, 2011 @ 9:24pm

    Re: Re:

    Or, in this case, it's more like Paris Hilton + Hillary Clinton = Paris Hilton in 5 years. I think that's more analogous to what the FBI did.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 15th, 2011 @ 10:15am

    Re: Re: Hahaha

    I never thought posting your pics on Facebook could get you into terrorism plots lmao!


    Really?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Oct 17th, 2011 @ 7:52am

    Re: Photographers viewpoint

    From the viewpoint of a photographer, I'd think he'd pursue defamation of character, libel, and probably a few other civil items.

    What exactly did the FBI say that's false and defamatory?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 17th, 2011 @ 11:17am

    Hi Mike, this is a year or two old. A quick google search turned up this HuffPo article from Jan 2010. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/16/gaspar-llamazares-bin-lad_n_425989.html

    I think the update might be that he is now planning on suing the FBI, but I haven't really looked that closely.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This