Web Facial Matching Stirs Privacy Worries

    Date21 Dec 2006
    Posted ByBrittany Day
    A startup boasted on Tuesday that it had created a technology to recognize people's faces from photos posted online, causing a stir among some privacy advocates who worry about the implications of automated matching. The tool--from Swedish startup Polar Rose--converts two-dimensional images into three-dimensional profiles to compensate for colors and shadows and then applies a facial recognition algorithm to the result. The company is relying on its users to enter the names of known people into the database, turning a neat technological trick into valuable data.

    The ability to recognize people in any photo--albeit only if the face is 100 pixels or more wide--has set off alarms for people concerned about privacy. The U.K. non-profit group Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties spoke out against the technology in a New Scientist article published on Tuesday, and users have commented on the privacy concerns as well.

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