The Privacy BlogPrivacy, Security, Cryptography, and Anonymity

TAG | facial recognition

B W Mask ImageFacial recognition app matches strangers to online profiles | Crave – CNET

Google has adopted a privacy protecting policy of banning facial recognition apps from the Google Glass app store. I appreciate the effort to protect my privacy but facial recognition is probably the ONLY reason I would wear Google Glass.

I am hopeless at parties or networking events. I have no ability at all to remember names, and I know I am far from alone in this. The ability to simply look at someone and be reminded of their name, our past interactions, and any public information about their recent activities, would be absolute gold.

Obviously I am less enthusiastic about having third party ratings of my intelligence, integrity, hotness, or whatever, popping up to the people looking at me. As usual, humans are in favor of privacy for themselves but not for others.

A new app is coming out soon called Nametag, which is planned to do exactly this. On iOS, Android, and jail broken Glass, you will be able to photograph anyone and, using facial recognition, pull up all available social media information about them.

To opt out you will need to set up an account with NameTag, and I presume you will also need to upload some high quality pictures of yourself so they can recognize you to block the information. Hurm…..

Whatever we all think about this, the capability is clearly coming. The cameras are getting too small to easily detect, high quality tagged photos are everywhere, and the computing power is available.

While citizens have some ability to impact government surveillance cameras and facial recognition, it will be much harder to change course on the use of these technologies with private fixed cameras, phones, and smart glasses. Even if we convince device makers to block these applications, the really creepy people will jailbreak them and install them anyway.

For years I have said that the Internet is the least anonymous environment we inhabit. With this kind of technology, it may soon be much easier to hide yourself online than off. Police really don’t like you wearing masks.

Lance Cottrell is the Founder and Chief Scientist of Anonymizer. Follow me on Facebook and Google+.

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The New Scientist has an article on the FBI’s Next Generation Identification (NGI) program.

It started out as a project to replace the old fingerprint database, but will now include biometrics, DNA, voice prints, and facial recognition.

The idea is to database all the mugshots so people can be quickly identified after arrest, or possibly so surveillance video could be compared to the database to identify possible suspects.

Obviously lots of civil liberties issues here, but still a very long way from the paranoid hollywood inspired rantings about real time global surveillance with integrated biometrics.

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Face book announced that it will soon start automatically suggesting your name for tagging photos any time it thinks it recognizes you in a picture. This automatic facial recognition is the default and will be done unless you explicitly opt out.

It looks like you need to customize your privacy settings to disable this. In Facebook, look under the “account” menu and select “Privacy Settings”.

From there click the “Customize settings” link at the bottom of the table. Within there, look for “Suggest photos of me to friends”, and set it to “Disabled”.

I suspect that few people will simply stumble on that.

Other people tagging you in photos can lead to embarrassment you might want to avoid. Having your name suggested just makes that more likely.

While you are at it, you might want to change the setting that allows others to “check you in” to locations. That can tell thieves you are away from home or stalkers where to find you.

CNN has a good article on the announcement. Facebook lets users opt out of facial recognition – CNN.com

 

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