"Computers have been getting better and better at seeing movement on video. How is it that they read lips, follow a dancing girl or copy an actor making faces?"
– from Andrew Blake. Introduction to Active Contours and Visual Dynamics. Visual Dynamics Group, Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford
You take a picture of a person, upload it and get to see public photos of that person along with links to where those photos appeared. By Kashmir Hill Until recently, Hoan Ton-That's greatest hit was an app that let people put Donald Trump's distinctive yellow hair on their own photos. Then Ton-That did something momentous: He invented a tool that could end your ability to walk down the street anonymously and provided it to hundreds of law enforcement agencies. His tiny company, Clearview AI, devised a groundbreaking facial recognition app. You take a picture of a person, upload it and get to see public photos of that person along with links to where those photos appeared.
Yesterday, The New York Times ran an alarming piece by Kashmir Hill about Clearview AI, a startup that allows third parties to quickly learn many details about you based on only seeing your face; The New York Times further reported that Clearview's technology is already in use by government agencies across the United States. Today, therefore, I am sharing some tips on how to prevent yourself from being recognized by facial recognition systems. I have personally utilized some of these techniques in test environments – and they worked. Others I have seen demonstrated. Keep in mind that not all of the tips that I provide below apply in all environments – normally, people seeking not to be recognized also do not want to stand out.
Until recently, Hoan Ton-That's greatest hits included an obscure iPhone game and an app that let people put Donald Trump's distinctive yellow hair on their own photos. Then Mr. Ton-That -- an Australian techie and onetime model -- did something momentous: He invented a tool that could end your ability to walk down the street anonymously, and provided it to hundreds of law enforcement agencies, ranging from local cops in Florida to the F.B.I. and the Department of Homeland Security. His tiny company, Clearview AI, devised a groundbreaking facial recognition app. You take a picture of a person, upload it and get to see public photos of that person, along with links to where those photos appeared. The system -- whose backbone is a database of more than three billion images that Clearview claims to have scraped from Facebook, YouTube, Venmo and millions of other websites -- goes far beyond anything ever constructed by the United States government or Silicon Valley giants.
The European Commission is considering measures to impose a temporary ban on facial recognition technologies used by both public and private actors, according to a draft white paper on Artificial Intelligence obtained by EURACTIV. If implemented, the plans could throw current AI projects off course in some EU countries, including Germany's wish to roll out automatic facial recognition at 134 railway stations and 14 airports. France also has plans to establish a legal framework permitting video surveillance systems to be embedded with facial recognition technologies. The Commission paper, which gives an insight into proposals for a European approach to Artificial Intelligence, stipulates that a future regulatory framework could "include a time–limited ban on the use of facial recognition technology in public spaces." The document adds that the "use of facial recognition technology by private or public actors in public spaces would be prohibited for a definite period (e.g. More generally, the draft White Paper, the completed version of which the Commission should publish towards the end of February, features five regulatory options for Artificial Intelligence across the bloc. A Voluntary Labelling framework could consist of a legal instrument whereby developers could "chose to comply, on a voluntary basis, with requirements for ethical and trustworthy artificial intelligence." Should compliance in this area be guaranteed, a'label' of ethical or trustworthy artificial intelligence would be granted, with binding conditions. Option two focuses on a specific area of public concern – the use of artificial intelligence by public authorities – as well as the employment of facial recognition technologies generally. In the former area, the paper states that the EU could adopt an approach akin to the stance taken by Canada in its Directive on Automated Decision Making, which sets out minimum standards for government departments that wish to use an Automated Decision System. As for facial recognition, the Commission document highlights provisions from the EU's General Data Protection Regulation, which give citizens "the right not to be subject of a decision based solely on automated processing, including profiling." In the third area which the Commission is currently priming for regulation, legally binding instruments would apply only "to high–risk applications of artificial intelligence.
The European Commission has revealed it is considering a ban on the use of facial recognition in public areas for up to five years. Regulators want time to work out how to prevent the technology being abused. The technology allows faces captured on CCTV to be checked in real time against watch lists, often compiled by police. Exceptions to the ban could be made for security projects as well as research and development. The Commission set out its plans in an 18-page document, suggesting that new rules will be introduced to bolster existing regulation surrounding privacy and data rights.
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The EU could temporarily ban the use of facial recognition technology in public places such as train stations, sport stadiums and shopping centres over fears about creeping surveillance of European citizens. A prohibition lasting between three and five years is seen as a way for Brussels to manage the risks said to be posed by the breakneck speed at which the software is being adopted. The option is contained in an early draft of a European commission white paper obtained by the news website Euractiv. The final version is due to be published in February as part of a wider overhaul of the regulation of artificial intelligence. The draft document points to the right under the General Data Protection Regulation for EU citizens "not to be subject of a decision based solely on automated processing, including profiling."
Last year, communities banded together to prove that they can--and will--defend their privacy rights. As part of ACLU-led campaigns, three California cities--San Francisco, Berkeley, and Oakland--as well as three Massachusetts municipalities--Somerville, Northhampton, and Brookline--banned the government's use of face recognition from their communities. Following another ACLU effort, the state of California blocked police body cam use of the technology, forcing San Diego's police department to shutter its massive face surveillance flop. And in New York City, tenants successfully fended off their landlord's efforts to install face surveillance. Even the private sector demonstrated it had a responsibility to act in the face of the growing threat of face surveillance.
A Russian search engine is being accused of providing an unregulated facial recognition system to members of the public -- violating personal privacy. Experts have slammed the feature as'poor' and'creepy' while dubbing it a'definite privacy concern'. Yandex, much like Google, Bing and other search engines, allows users to input an image and see similar results. But only Yandex, which claims to conduct more than 50 per cent of Russian searches on Android, produces images of the exact same person. MailOnline tested the image search facilities of Yandex, Bing, Google and specialist site TinEye by submitting a photo that was not available online.