Face Recognition System: Clever or Creepy?

By devynp at 8:02 am on March 13, 2009Comments Off on Face Recognition System: Clever or Creepy?

Photo programs that could organize, recognize, and cluster people’s photos are neat because it allows the user to search for pictures. The face recognition technology has also been used to identify people. The way the system works is that the computer will find the faces on the pictures, then search for objects in the pictures that look like eyes, a nose, etc. Apple and Google also developed their own photo programs that are nifty; the programs are capable of matching different pictures and find ones with the same person in it.

According to the Technology Review article, these programs does its job pretty well; for example, the Apple program can learn as the user tells it which matching are right and which are wrong. Scarily, Google’s program, Picasa, which has pictures stored on Google database, will cluster the pictures according to the faces, let the users tag those clusters with names and allow them to further match it to the corresponding people’s email addresses. It is a little bit unsettling that “before [we] know it, Google is asking [us] to identify all those other faces in [the] photographs” fulfilling its corporate mission “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” while that is not what we want from a photo-sharing website.

The photo recognition system starts to be used after the September 11 attack. Obviously this is done to help screen out terrorists at security checkpoints, such as airports and federal facilities. This can be helpful for the airport security officers to concentrate more on other details of the passengers, rather than on their face. The question now is whether this system has high enough accuracy to identify people by their face, regardless of their other facial features, such as beards or wigs.

One obvious concern with widely available face recognition is privacy. Due to real-name tagging and the fact that email addresses are unique, Google’s Picasa is able to create a global database linking people’s email addresses, names and photos recognized as a particular person together. This is not a new privacy issues; having facial recognition tools adds to the information that is exposed on the web.

One simple way to minimize the exposure or potential violation of your own privacy is to not use these tools. Although, unfortunately, like all new tools which exposes more information about us on the web, there will be hype regarding privacy management. This should be no different.

Source: http://www.technologyreview.com/computing/22234/page1/

Xia Cam and Devy Pranowo

Filed under: Current Events,PrivacyComments Off on Face Recognition System: Clever or Creepy?

Comments are closed.