Facial Search; Image Recognition for People. Scared?

Anphicle December 8, 2010 3

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.

Facial Search

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.

facial recognition

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.


  1. Anyone December 10, 2010 at 14:52 - Reply

    Qui c’est qui fait la reconnaissance image? – (Who made this image recognition?)

    • Anphicle December 10, 2010 at 21:56 - Reply

      As far as I know, nobody has made a publicly available service yet but the technology is used by private companies, police and border control in different countries. But what I mentioned could be done with all the resources available. That was my point in this post, I apologise if it was lost in translation.

      Autant que je sache, personne n’a fait un service public encore disponibles, mais la technologie est utilisée par des entreprises privées, la police et de contrôle aux frontières dans les différents pays. Mais ce que j’ai dit qui pourrait être fait avec toutes les ressources disponibles. C’est mon point de vue dans ce post, je m’excuse si elle a été perdu dans la traduction.

  2. journey March 11, 2011 at 02:56 - Reply

    Thank you for all the info you’ve been diligently ‘putting out there’ for readers to learn. Many of your articles have been fwd to email friends and over at fb.

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