Posts Tagged ‘facial recognition technology’

SceneTap Patents Using Cameras To Determine Bar Goers’ Weight, Height, Gender

September 26th, 2012 09:30 admin View Comments


nonprofiteer writes with news on what SceneTap has been up to for the last few months since. From the article: “SceneTap uses facial recognition technology to help bar-hoppers decide which night spot to go to based on how crowded a bar is and what the age and gender ratio is. … Despite the fact that what the app does now is fairly innocuous. But what the app could do in the future, as described in a patent application filed in June, is pretty creepy. The patent application describes much more detailed data collection, including bar goers’ race, height, weight, attractiveness, hair color, clothing type, and the presence of facial hair or glasses, and includes other possibilities usually left to the realm of dystopic fiction, including putting microphones in the cameras that could detect what customers are saying, and using facial recognition technology to identify customers and then get information about them from social networking websites and databases to determine ‘relationship status, intelligence, education and income for the entire venue.’”

Source: SceneTap Patents Using Cameras To Determine Bar Goers’ Weight, Height, Gender

Facebook Facial Recognition Under Scrutiny In Norway

August 9th, 2012 08:05 admin View Comments


Qedward writes “Certainly not the first country to raise concerns, but Facebook’s facial recognition feature will now be investigated by the Norwegian Data Protection Agency. Last year, Facebook added the ability to use facial recognition technology to help to tag images as a default feature to users worldwide. Ove Skåra, communications manager at the Norwegian Data Protection Agency or Datatilsynet said: ‘Facial recognition, is a technology that it is important to have critical view of, and see how it is actually used.’ Outside of Europe, U.S. Senator Al Franken, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s privacy subcommittee, called on Facebook to turn off the feature by default in July.”

Source: Facebook Facial Recognition Under Scrutiny In Norway

Al Franken Calls for Tight Rules on Facial Recognition Software

July 19th, 2012 07:07 admin View Comments


angry tapir writes “The U.S. Congress may need to pass legislation that limits the way government agencies and private companies use facial recognition technology to identify people, according to U.S. Senator Al Franken, who chairs the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee’s privacy subcommittee. The growing use of facial recognition technology raises serious privacy and civil liberties concerns, according to the senator, who has called on the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and Facebook to change the way they use facial recognition technology.” Derrick Harris of GigaOM says “My gut instinct is to call Senator Al Franken a well-meaning fool when it comes to his latest outcry,” but concedes that in this case “he actually has a point.” Harris writes in an editorial that “If you’ve heard about Alessandro Acquisti’s work with the technology, you know why this possibility should be a little scary. Snap a photo of someone with a smartphone, analyze an image against a database of social media or Flickr pics and, voila, you have a name. From there, it’s easy to get someone’s age, hometown, interests, news coverage, you name it.” Related: judgecorp writes “YouTube has added a tool which automatically detects and anonymises faces in uploaded videos. YouTube parent Google says it is intended to allow dissidents in places like Syria to share videos without risking reprisals form the government — but it warned that this is not an exact science, so users should check videos through before making them public.”

Source: Al Franken Calls for Tight Rules on Facial Recognition Software

How to Keep Facebook From Recognizing Your Face

June 21st, 2012 06:02 admin View Comments

Now that Facebook has bought facial recognition vendor, many users are worried that the giant social network will use the technology to infringe on their privacy. While you can’t stop Facebook from grabbing the facial-recognition data, there are ways to limit the service’s use of that information.

Security vendor Sophos has posted step-by-step instructions on how to prevent Facebook from using that facial-recognition data to suggest to other users that they tag their pictures with your name.

While Facebook users can’t stop the company from gathering the information, the privacy settings in their accounts lets them pull in the reins and take some control over which photos bear their names.

“This doesn’t mean that Facebook won’t learn about what you look like and associate it with your likes and friendships,” writes Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, in the company’s blog. “But it does mean you can opt out of Facebook using the data it has collected on your appearance,”

Simple Steps

The steps are fairly straightforward.

Simply go to “timeline and tagging” in the privacy settings, click on “edit settings” and then select “no one” on the option “who sees tag suggestions when photos that look like you are uploaded.” Press “OK,” and you are done.

This opt out procedure reflects Facebook’s general approach when it comes to privacy. Users typically have to opt out of sharing personal information, as opposed to being asked beforehand. By comparison, Google+ asks users for permission before applying facial-recognition technology.

Facebook had been using the Israeli startup’s technology for some time, but the buyout was announced on Monday. Actually owning is expected to lead Facebook to more deeply integrate the totechnology into its services.

The Increasing Importance of Pictures

For Facebook, a picture seems to be worth far more than a thousand words. Before its initial public offering in May, Facebook told potential investors in regulatory filings that photos were expected to add value to the company.

The acquistion is only the latest attempt to make the most of how their used on the site. Two months ago, Facebook paid $1 billion for Instagram, a service for easily sharing photos by mobile phone.

But just because Facebook thinks pictures are important doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to let it do anything it wants with your image, and your image. You own your face, Facebook doesn’t.

Source: How to Keep Facebook From Recognizing Your Face

Facebook’s Acquisition Of Gives a New Look to Search

May 30th, 2012 05:12 admin View Comments

With Facebook’s acquisition of reportedly a done deal, all of the focus is on what the merger will do for Facebook’s mobile efforts. But there may be more to the deal than just mobile.

“Give us 14 images of you,” Google’s Eric Schmidt famously told the Technology Conference in 2010, “and we can find other images of you with 95% accuracy.”

That was impressive at the time, and that 95% is probably much higher now. But what was more impressive is that the feature, which isn’t available on Google Image Search, is expected to be offered first by As the Web becomes increasingly visual, image search is going to become increasingly important, and an acquisition of may be the strongest signal yet that Facebook is positioning itself to go toe-to-toe with Google in search.

The inevitable implications of enhanced image search are huge. One of the biggest reasons it hasn’t been launched on Google Image Search and has only been launched on a limited basis on Facebook is that the computing power hasn’t quite caught up to allow for quick searches based on facial recognition algorithms, but that is rapidly changing.

PCWorld has a comprehensive look at the good and bad of facial recognition technology, with plenty of space devoted to the increased privacy concerns. As Eli Pariser noted in The Filter Bubble, “The ability to search by face will shatter many of our cultural illusions about privacy and anonymity…[it will be] as if the whole Internet has been tagged on Facebook.”

Neither company is commenting on the deal, but there are widespread reports that Facebook would pay between $80 million and $100 million for the Israeli startup.

The rumor, coupled with recent acquisitions of photosharing apps Instagram and Lightbox and the release of its own Facebook Camera app, make it clear that Facebook is betting on a visual Web for its future growth. But it also shows that Facebook is putting the money it raised in its initial public offering to work, acquiring companies instead of going through the process of developing new products, features and services in-house.

Source: Facebook’s Acquisition Of Gives a New Look to Search

Your Next Mac Could Be Controlled With Your Body, Kinect-Style

December 9th, 2011 12:20 admin View Comments

minority-report-150.jpgImagine sitting down at your desk in the morning and having your computer automatically power up, recognize you and log into your desktop. From there, you can swipe from app to app using your hands – not on a touchscreen, but by moving your hands naturally through the air. Unlike the mouse of yesteryear, your machine recognizes gestures in 3D space and you can manipulate things on the screen using your fingers, selecting photos from a 3D gallery or even browsing the Web.

None of the technology described above is new, but it could be coming to personal computers over the next few years, if a recent patent filing from Apple is any indication.

The patent, titled “Three Dimensional Imaging and Display System”, looks a lot like what owners of the XBox 360 can already do using the Kinect add-on for the gaming and entertainment console. The hardware could recognize and track human bodies sitting in front of it, and possibly even include facial recognition technology, something that is already being experimented with as a way to unlock mobile phones.

apple-3d-gesture-patent.jpgThe system would enable people to control their computer with hand gestures, manipulating on-screen virtual control buttons and knobs and navigating through documents and information in 3D. This may well be in concert with other new human-machine interface methods like on screen multitouch and voice control. Apple hasn’t said whether they plan on integrating Siri with other products, but if its trial run on the iPhone goes well, we can’t imagine why they wouldn’t.

In its typical fashion, Apple is not exactly innovating here. Oblong Industries is just one company who specializes in 3D gesture-controlled computing. If all of this sounds reminiscent of the movie Minitory Report it’s no mistake. One of the company’s founders actually designed one of the UIs Tom Cruise uses in the movie.

Rather than being the first to implement the technology, Apple may do what Apple typically does and simply manage to package it in a consumer-friendly, well-designed fashion and then help popularize its use on personal computers.

The significance here is less about Apple doing some new and cool and more about where human-machine interactions are heading in the future.

Source: Your Next Mac Could Be Controlled With Your Body, Kinect-Style

Hamburg To Fine Facebook Over Facial Recognition Feature

November 10th, 2011 11:30 admin View Comments


An anonymous reader writes “Johannes Caspar, data protection commissioner for the German state of Hamburg, today declared he will soon fine Facebook over its use of biometric facial recognition technology. He said ‘further negotiations are pointless’ because the company had ignored a deadline he set for it to remove the feature. German authorities could fine Facebook up to €300,000 ($420,000).”

Source: Hamburg To Fine Facebook Over Facial Recognition Feature

A Day In the Life of Privacy

October 16th, 2011 10:33 admin View Comments


wiredmikey writes “An interesting read on the state of privacy and how technology, along with government and social media have changed the idea, and reality of privacy forever. The article takes the reader through a typical day, and highlights many of the privacy issues that we face, from our mobile phones, Internet at local coffee shops, Facebook, Twitter, Fourquare, all the way down to cars equipped with OnStar, public cameras, facial recognition technology and more. The author concludes everyday we make compromises in the face of Privacy, and none of us will ever have as much privacy as we want.”

Source: A Day In the Life of Privacy

Scotland Yard Confirms It’s Using Facial Recognition Tech

August 12th, 2011 08:13 admin View Comments


nonprofiteer writes “Scotland Yard confirms that it’s using facial recognition technology to identify rioters in London. ‘A law enforcement official, who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity, said that facial recognition is one of many tools police are using to hunt suspects still at large.’ Meanwhile, the vigilante group trying an amateur stab applying facial recognition to the riot photos abandoned the project because the results sucked. This is the big test of the surveillance state that London has become. Are all those cameras effective, or just taking a toll on privacy without bringing added security?”

Source: Scotland Yard Confirms It’s Using Facial Recognition Tech

The London Riots and Facial Recognition Technology

August 9th, 2011 08:19 admin View Comments


nonprofiteer writes “A bunch of vigilantes are organizing a Google Group dedicated to using recently revealed facial recognition tools to identify looters in the London riots. While Vancouver discussed doing something similar after the Stanley Cup riots, the city never actually moved forward on it. Ring of Steel London, though, is far more likely to incorporate FRT into its investigative work.” A related article points out how development of face-recognition technology has been kept under wraps by some organizations, but we’re getting to the point where it’ll soon be ubiquitous.

Source: The London Riots and Facial Recognition Technology