Bob Sullivan has an absolutely chilling article on Red Tape that I wish were SciFi but isn’t:
Imagine being able to sit down in a bar, snap a few photos of people and quickly learn who they are, who their friends are, where they live, what kind of music they like … even predict their Social Security number.
Now, imagine you could visit one of those anonymous online dating sites and quickly identify nearly every person there, just from their photos, despite efforts to keep their online romance search a secret.
Such technology is so creepy that it was developed, and withheld, by Google — the one initiative that Google deemed too dangerous to release to the world, according to former CEO Eric Schmidt.
Too late, says Carnegie Mellon University researcher Alessandro Acquisti.
“That genie is already out of the bottle,” he said Thursday, shortly before a presentation at the annual Las Vegas Black Hat hackers’ convention that’s sure to trouble online daters, bar hoppers and anyone who ever walks down the street.
Using off-the-shelf facial recognition software and simple Internet data mining techniques, Acquisti says he’s proven that most people can now be identified simply through a photograph of their face — and anyone can do the sleuthing. In other words, our faces have become our identities, and there little hope of remaining anonymous in a world where billions of photographs are taken and posted online every month.
Read more on Red Tape.