Sometimes tech scares me. Today it is the turn of Image Recognition and a ready made database of tagged images of people, such as Facebook for example. It scares me not only for the consequences, but also because the resources are readily available for any software developer to build image recognition search for people. All you need is to pull profile images and names from the myriad of social sites and it is a wave bye-bye to personal privacy and safety forever.
What is Visual Search?
Basically you can take a picture of something with a camera phone and the search engine will use image recognition technology to tell you what it is. The Google Goggles homepage currently gives you some examples of what it is good for, but does not mention facial recognition. It looks like a universal technology though, you can take a picture of anything and it will try to search it. Who is to say this won’t include your face.
Not worried about Facial Search? You should be. Imagine not being able to leave your house without somebody being able to find out your name and any other details you share on the web. How about mildly offending somebody and them taking a vendetta against you. What about stalkers? Imagine not being able to shop in peace without salesmen recommending you stuff that your Facebook friends have bought. What about the CCTV coverage in a country such as the UK and a possibility you could be tracked by a computer as you walk, drive or do anything, anywhere. Consider that unfeasable or unlikely? A service like that could happen today – just combine these three services: Internet Eyes Public CCTV, Pictriev and Facebook. I’m not saying that particular combination would provide a useful service but it shows the technology is all there, happening now. Consider your own consequences.
In fact how is Face Search OK in any way? Please let me know if this bothers you too and I’m not being a great big scaredy cat. Or please let me know too if Open Facial Recognition doesn’t bother you, or if you have anything to say at all on Facial Search, please let me know in the comments.