January 19, 2020

NYT: The Secretive Company That Might End Privacy as We Know It

Kashmir Hill, writing in The New York Times:
Asked about the implications of bringing such a power into the world, Mr. Ton-That seemed taken aback. 
"I have to think about that," he said. "Our belief is that this is the best use of the technology."
The age-old response of the technologist who possesses no thought or concern for the wider world or their place in it, only their work. A child and his toy.

The article illuminates a new software technology for comparing an uploaded photo of an individual's face with a vast database of stored images, which are in turn scraped from online media—including all those selfies and profile pictures we've added to our social media pages—in order to learn the identity of the individual.

Tweak that workflow slightly: Imagine how many embarrassing or compromising photos are floating around out there, waiting to be tagged with a name. Now that the technology to find those identities is available, the developer belatedly wonders at the implications. May you reap what you've sewn, Mr. Ton-That.

#facialRecognition #privacy