Clearview AI came under fire for scraping billions of selfies off the Internet to sell facial recognition services to law enforcement. France’s privacy watchdog said that the company has breached Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and France has now ordered Clearview AI to delete its database.
If I were to say ‘facial recognition software’ to you, you’d be forgiven for immediately thinking about social media companies, governments keeping tabs on their citizens, and general Big-Brother-esque scenarios. But this is a story of a slightly more unusual use of the AI: counting not sheep, but puffins.
Ever since it appeared, Clearview AI has been surrounded by controversy. Privacy groups in Europe recently accused it of breaking privacy laws, and groups from several countries have even taken legal action against the company.
The attack on the US Capitol happened on 6 January, but photos, videos, and news are still surfacing. Over 400 people have been arrested so far, but at least one of the suspects was caught thanks to Instagram. The FBI used photos and videos from his girlfriend’s Instagram and identified the man with some help of facial recognition.
Facial recognition can be used for good causes, but very often it’s not. You can bypass it by wearing masks or using lasers, but there’s now a way subtler tactics. A team of researchers from the University of Chicago has created Fawkes, the system that confuses facial recognition while still making you look as you. So if you’re concerned about facial recognition software scraping your public photos, Fawkes is free for you to download and use.
Facial recognition technology has been causing quite a stir for a while now. While some are paranoid about it, others find it to be useful, life changing even. Well, now there’s a new website to be either paranoid or thrilled about. PimEyes allows you to upload just one photo of a person, and it will analyze the internet to see where else this person’s photos have been published.
Facial recognition is an incredibly useful consumer tool for organizing our burgeoning photo albums. Companies like Google and Apple have slowly integrated machine learning algorithms into their consumer photo products, which allow you to search by keywords without the need for manual tagging, or to simply click on a face to see more photos of that person.
Facial recognition and video surveillance can have different applications, both good and bad. But government officials in a Chinese city decided to use it for the latter. They photographed people wearing pajamas in public and announced their photos to shame them. And as if that weren’t enough, there were also names and other personal data published along with the photos.