You thought they knew everything about you?

Did you see see 60 Minutes recently or read the story ‘Say goodbye to anonymity’?

Lesley Stahl, CBS News 60 Minutes: Facial recognition is already in some of our home appliances like TVs. In our mobile devices, PINs and passwords are giving way to faceprints. And the technology can single us out in real-time as we go about our daily business, often without us ever knowing.

Joseph Atick, one of the first scientists to develop facial recognition software: What’s unique about face recognition is the fact that you can do it surreptitiously, from a distance, and continually.

Alessandro Acquisti is a professor at Carnegie Mellon who does research on how technology impacts privacy. “He says that smart phones may make ‘facial searches’ as common as Google searches and he did an experiment to show how easy it could be… He ran pictures [of random students] through a facial recognition program he downloaded for free that sifted through Facebook profiles and other websites. And he was able not only to identify many of them instantly, he also got their personal data, including in some cases, their social security numbers.

“Short of wearing a burka, we may all one day become Tom Cruise at the mall, because marketers who track us as we shop online and send us ads, want to do that as we shop in the real world.” That reference was to the 2002 Cruise film Minority Report. I’m somewhat horrified by this.

I’m happy that with their relationship on the rocks, Chris (Lefty) and Kelly Brown found a marriage counselor in their Xbox, but I wonder how much of privacy is given up to prove that new Xbox experience that’s being launched.

I can’t quite explain why, but this future automotive device weirds me out.

And it’s primarily commercial entities doing this, from info we give out ourselves. I suppose I should unplug everything social media and hide in my cave. But I won’t (yet).
As Tom the Mayor wrote on Facebook: “You know, You can’t ‘friend’ an Amish person on Facebook!”
Shooting Parrots wants to give Google the finger because “corporate giants like Amazon, Starbucks and Google [and Apple!] who have taken to biting the hands that feed them by avoiding paying tax where their customers live,” while, I would add, using the info we give them to get ever richer. SP is using in lieu of Google; its motto on the page: “Search anonymously. Find instantly.” It may lessen the “Google experience,” but it is a reasonable tradeoff, I think.
Some kid’s in jail for something he wrote on Facebook.

6 thoughts on “You thought they knew everything about you?”

  1. You’re not alone in being horrified by tools like facial recognition. Every day Orwell’s 1984 and movies like Minority Report come closer and closer to being reality. Soon, privacy might be become a privilege, not a right.


  2. There used to be a service called Scroogle, which would rout your otherwise-ordinary Google searches through a proxy so Google couldn’t mine any data from you. It didn’t last.


  3. Rog, right on as usual. I’m considering withdrawing from Facebook, even though I don’t have my real birthdate on it, etc. It’s too smarmy; it’s become a consumer engine, tracking your likes and dislikes. Only way to beat it is “like” a whole lot of contradictory things.

    That kid is just another pathetic white suburban boy trying to get some creds. It’s no more or less offensive than anything they are producing and distributing. He’s a punk, but the First Amendment doesn’t play favorites, just like Jesus. ALL speech is protected.

    As for Minority Report, his eye swap and the “Mr. Tamagachi” or whatever he was called at The Gap, what a hoot… until you realize it is all coming, unless we manage to screw the planet first!



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