Mar 312011
 March 31, 2011  Posted by  Business, Surveillance

Yesterday it was a report about Samsung causing a privacy scare. Today it’s a story about Google.

While I was working, it seems that CNN published a story claiming that Google was developing an application that would do facial recognition and provide corresponding contact information. The CNN story, by Mark Milian, quoted Google’s Hartmut Neven, engineering director for image-recognition development for Google for some of its statements.

Google reacted strongly. In a statement to Android Community, they wrote:

We are NOT “introducing a mobile application” (as the CNN piece claims) and as we’ve said for over a year, we would NOT add face recognition to any app like Goggles unless there was a strong privacy model in place. A number of items “reported” in the story, such as a potential app connecting phone numbers, email addresses and other information with a person’s face, are purely speculative and are inventions of the reporter.

CNN does not seem to have updated its story to reflect Google’s response.

So let’s see: if I just work longer hours each day, can I miss having to post a story and then its refutation or correction?

Update: Greg Sterling of Search Engine Land provides the next round:

Here’s where it gets strange and interesting. I just got a statement from CNN saying that Google that was full of it:

Google’s claims do not fit the facts of the situation. This interview was prearranged – on the record – and staffed by a Google PR rep, who raised no objections at the time and did not deny what the engineer said. Additionally, we have an audio recording of the interview, as does Google. We stand firmly behind Mark’s reporting.

Recorded interview. On the record. Google PR person in the room.

Clearly the technology exists; Google’s not denying that. The question is whether the app or update to Goggles is about to be released.

He said/she said: where’s the truth? I guess we’ll find out if Google does release such a capability in the near future.

h/t, @PrivacyMemes

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