Face recognition has made the big-time news with the feature segment this past weekend on the CBS news program “60 Minutes”. [Click here to watch: http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=50147158n ]
The slant on the segment was whether face recognition was an invasion of privacy for the average US citizen. This continues to be an ongoing debate but suffice it to say – “your face is more personally identifiable than your written signature”. The 60 Minute segment explored a study done at Carnegie Mellon University by researchers there who performed the following experiments:
- In one experiment, Acquisti’s team identified individuals on a popular online dating site where members protect their privacy through pseudonyms.
- In a second experiment, they identified students walking on campus — based on their profile photos on Facebook.
- In a third, the team predicted personal interests and, in some cases, even the Social Security numbers of the students, beginning with only a photo of their faces.
For full details on the study go here: http://www.cmu.edu/homepage/society/2011/summer/facial-recognition.shtml
The 60 Minute segment also highlighted that European governments were far more advanced in their protection of online personal data such as face signatures and that the US still has no legislation in this area. So big business is free to use the data as they see fit, and this may not always be in the best interests of the general population.
As we have pointed out in previous posts on this website, it is important to manage your personal face data as you would any other private personal data such as your credit card or social security number.