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Massive databases containing tens of thousands of photos from public security cameras, OKCupid and other sites used to train facial recognition without users’ knowledge, report claims

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Daily Mail
July 16, 2019

With images aggregated from social media platforms, dating sites, or even CCTV footage of a trip to the local coffee shop, companies could be using your face to train a sophisticated facial recognition software.

As reported by the New York Times, among the sometimes massive data sets that researchers use to teach artificially intelligent software to recognize faces is a database collected by Stanford researchers called Brainwash.

More than 10,000 images of customers at a cafe in San Francisco were collected in 2014 without their knowledge.

That same database was then made available to other academics, including some in China at the National University of Defense Technology.

Those researchers have helped to develop the country’s AI-based surveillance software used in China’s efforts to track one of the country’s ethnic minorities.

While Brainwash was recently taken down by researchers, the practice of harvesting users’ faces without their consent continues.

The Times reports that users of the dating site, OKCupid had their pictures co-opted to help create an AI that can identify the ‘age, sex and race of detected faces’ by a company called Clarifai.

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It’s unclear whether OkCupid gave researchers consent to include its users’ images in the database.

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This article was posted: Tuesday, July 16, 2019 at 2:07 am

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