Russian Photographer Used Facial Recognition To Track Down Strangers


As useful as facial recognition is in law enforcement, biometrics, driving safety systems and robotics , it can be used against people, too. Simple civilians can track down mere strangers, with the right software at hands. This was recently proved by Russian photographer Egor Tsvetkov, in an experiment called “Your Face is Big Data”.

The photographer wanted to show people how easy it is for a machine to connect the dots thanks to their social media addiction.  Tsvetkov spent six weeks taking approximately 100 pictures of strangers in the subway. Then, he used an app called FindFace to scour VKontakte, Russia’s most popular social network, for people’s real identities. The app sifted through 55 million + users and eventually tracked down about 70% of the subjects.

See here the photos taken on the subway and the ones found online.

After 1 month and a half of taking photos randomly, the photographer had access to these individuals’ names, at the least. While this was an experiment, there’s no way of telling who could use such apps in a damaging way in the future.

What do you think – should Internet users be more careful with the content they upload or is this a matter of controlling the software released in the wild?

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