Churchix: The Face Recognition Event Attendance Desktop Application You've Been Praying For?

from the forgive-me,-for-I-have-scanned dept

Churchix may sound like yet another niche GNU/Linux distro aimed, perhaps, at those who want to free their software as well as their souls, but it turns out to be both godly and down-to-earth (found via @latentexistence):

Churchix is a face recognition event attendance desktop application. Churchix identifies event attending members in videos and photos. All you need to do is enrol high quality photos of your members into the software data base, then connect a live video USB camera or upload recorded videos or photos -- and Churchix will identify your members!
Nothing remotely creepy about your church attendance being recorded automatically, of course, since presumably notes are being kept in more ethereal spheres anyway. But if you're not convinced, the makers of Churchix, Skakash, have more secular locations where you could deploy its facial recognition system. As well as obvious ones like airports and border areas, other possible uses include in casinos, where Skakash suggests there are three classes of people you might want to track: blacklisted individuals, employees and VIPs.

That's a rather telling categorization, because it basically says it doesn't matter whether you are an unwelcome or welcome visitor, or simply there as an employee, the system is designed to keep an eye on you, all the time. That's a hint of where things might be going: a world where everyone is tracked using facial recognition in commercial and public spaces, not just the criminals. The recent walkout by privacy organizations from multi-stakeholder talks because of a failure by companies using face recognition to agree to any privacy-protective code of conduct shows that it will probably take a miracle to avoid that fate.

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or identi.ca, and +glynmoody on Google+

Filed Under: church, face recognition
Companies: churchix


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jun 2015 @ 2:27am

    What are the odds that in the future, face-concealing clothing becomes a more or less permanent fashion?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Jun 2015 @ 3:09am

      Re:

      What are the odds that in the future, face-concealing clothing becomes a felony?

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

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 19 Jun 2015 @ 10:38am

      Face-concealing shields were a conspicuous theme...

      ...in the Bladerunner movie concept art as shown in an exhibition. There were even paintings of sex parties in which the participants were in acts of congress completely naked except for these helmets.

      Finally, I understand those freaky (but very futuristic-looking) face shields.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jun 2015 @ 4:15am

    I've been hoping face recognition technology could be easier to use for the masses

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

  • icon
    TheResidentSkeptic (profile), 19 Jun 2015 @ 6:21am

    I think I'll go buy some stock...

    ... in Stetsons and Ray-Bans. I see a resurgence in big hats and big dark sunglasses coming.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jun 2015 @ 6:27am

    Anyone that uses this will lose me as a customer.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jun 2015 @ 6:36am

    and of course the "privacy" link in the footer is not actually a link...

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

  • icon
    testcore (profile), 19 Jun 2015 @ 9:44am

    Likely GPL violation

    If it really is a linux-based distro (their site is short on details on that front), the fact that it appears they're not distributing the source would mean that they're violating the GPL.

    Also note that the "Terms of Use" in the footer, which might actually describe their use of the GPL, is not actually a link, and there are no accessible ToS.

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

    • identicon
      PRMan, 19 Jun 2015 @ 10:30am

      Re: Likely GPL violation

      If they wrote their own sealed app and included it on a Linux distro, it's perfectly fine.

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

      • icon
        testcore (profile), 19 Jun 2015 @ 12:19pm

        Re: Re: Likely GPL violation

        Not true. If you're distributing linux in binary form, the GPL requires you also distribute source.

        They don't have to distribute the source for *their* app, but they still need to include GPL'ed sources.

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

        • icon
          John Fenderson (profile), 19 Jun 2015 @ 12:45pm

          Re: Re: Re: Likely GPL violation

          And they don't have to distribute the source with the binaries. It's sufficient to make the source available at no charge from a download site.

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

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 19 Jun 2015 @ 10:46am

    I suspect facial accessories laced with superbright strobing LEDs...

    ...just outside the spectrum of human vision (infrared and ultraviolent) may become a big thing. Currently they're the instrument by which activists fool police facial recognition devices, since cameras often use a broader spectrum in order to detect and enhance details.

    Also, Hollywood's make-up teams are skilled enough to turn people into completely different people. That technology will rapidly bleed out into the mainstream, especially to blacklisters who are specifically at events to cause trouble and are willing to invest time and money into countermeasures.

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

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 19 Jun 2015 @ 12:48pm

      Re: I suspect facial accessories laced with superbright strobing LEDs...

      "Hollywood's make-up teams are skilled enough to turn people into completely different people."

      But remember what face recognition software is looking at is features that aren't easily obscured with makeup: the distance between eyes and proportions between prominent structural features.

      You don't need a full-on Hollywood style makeup job. A few well-place prostheses would do the job.

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

  • icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), 19 Jun 2015 @ 4:00pm

    Also from their site, it looks like if you have a few pics of Jesus from stained glass windows, you could properly identify him whenever he shows up on a piece of toast or a dog's butt.

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

  • icon
    TRX (profile), 19 Jun 2015 @ 9:05pm

    I'm pretty sure I ran into something similar at a chain restaurant a year ago. A friend and I have lunch there occasionally. On that particular visit, it had been more than six months since we had been there.

    When the waitress took our order I started to tell her how I wanted my sandwich prepared. She broke in and rattled off my usual extensive substitutions and additions. I said OK.

    It's a high-traffic restaurant, they have a high employee turnover, it had been more than six months since I'd been in there, I'm not particularly memorable, and I'm pretty sure I'd never seen that waitress before. And I'm a cash customer; they've never had my name.

    I figured a simple system could be pieced together out of off-the-shelf software. With a hit, the server knows your previous orders and tipping percentage before she comes to your table. If you've paid by card, she knows your name. Personalized service is likely to boost customer satisfaction and create more visits.

    It wouldn't have to be 100% accurate, just good enough to give the waitstaff an edge.

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

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 20 Jun 2015 @ 10:08am

      Re:

      It's more likely that restaurant is IDing customers based on the WiFi beacons from their phones than face recognition (I say based purely on the fact that this has been common practice with larger companies for years now).

      "ersonalized service is likely to boost customer satisfaction and create more visits."

      Maybe, but personally I can guarantee that if I notice that a place is doing this sort of thing, I would never set foot in that place again.

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

      • icon
        Uriel-238 (profile), 20 Jun 2015 @ 11:14am

        I don't see a problem with a place using biometrics or other devices to ID customers...

        ...in order to create a better or more consistent experience.

        The problem is when that information isn't recognized as privileged, private information and sold to / given to / stolen by third parties for further use.

        Google was entirely based on collecting private information and then using it in reasonably benign ways. The problem is that even if the Google itself was able to not abuse that power (which it hasn't -- not entirely) it created a database that was too attractive for other parties such as the state.

        It's one of those problems for which we need a (presently elusive) solution. Though Google's step in salting the database is a big one.

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Show Now: Takedown
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.