Cloud-Powered Facial Recognition Is Terrifying
Jared Keller for The Atlantic:
… a new application developed by Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College that’s designed to take a photograph of a total stranger and, using the facial recognition software PittPatt, track down their real identity in a matter of minutes. Facial recognition isn’t that new — the rudimentary technology has been around since the late 1960s — but this system is faster, more efficient, and more thorough than any other system ever used. Why? Because it’s powered by the cloud.
With Carnegie Mellon’s cloud-centric new mobile app, the process of matching a casual snapshot with a person’s online identity takes less than a minute. Tools like PittPatt and other cloud-based facial recognition services rely on finding publicly available pictures of you online, whether it’s a profile image for social networks like Facebook and Google Plus or from something more official from a company website or a college athletic portrait. In their most recent round of facial recognition studies, researchers at Carnegie Mellon were able to not only match unidentified profile photos from a dating website (where the vast majority of users operate pseudonymously) with positively identified Facebook photos, but also match pedestrians on a North American college campus with their online identities.
Yeah, this is creepy, but it also shows just how open we’ve become in sharing things on the internet.