AN ALARMING app that can scan a person's face and identify who they are and what they are into has become very popular in Russia.
This is the opposite of great, and represents a threat to privacy that has staggered even The Guardian newspaper, which has reported that the FindFace app is very accurate and can even be used to recognise whole crowds.
It is the sort of thing that we might have expected to report alongside words like 'Snowden' and 'National Security Agency', but actually it's a consumer thing that draws on Vkontakte, the Russian equivalent of Facebook, to match mugs with, well, mugs.
"In the short time since the launch, FindFace has amassed 500,000 users and processed nearly three million searches," said a report in The Guardian.
"Some have sounded the alarm about the potentially disturbing implications. Already the app has been used by a St Petersburg photographer to snap and identify people on the city's metro, as well as by online vigilantes to uncover the social media profiles of female porn actors and harass them."
This sort of thing is controversial, and Facebook is in court for making assumptions about people based on their faces.
FindFace’s technology is so advanced that it beat Google in a facial recognition contest called “Megaface." https://t.co/krWXTKYaRA— Donna Snelling (@PDX_Detective) May 8, 2016
FindFace co-creator Artem Kukharenko, whom The Guardian describes as "lanky" and a "nerd", claims that the app can pick out a person in seconds thanks to its processing and profiling power.
Marketing man Alexander Kabakov explained: "Three million searches in a database of nearly one billion photographs: that's hundreds of trillions of comparisons, and all on four normal servers. With this algorithm, you can search through a billion photographs in less than a second from a normal computer.
"If you see someone you like, you can photograph them, find their identity and send them a friend request. It also looks for similar people. So you could just upload a photo of a movie star you like, or your ex, and then find 10 girls who look similar to her and send them messages."
This sounds like a dangerous thing, so perhaps this is a bad day for marketing. Whatever, the INQUIRER has found other examples of this kind of app available locally on the Apple App Store and Google Play. µ
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