What is Face Search Engine All About? Here’s Everything We Know So Far!!
Wondering what Face Search Engine exactly is? Upload a picture of a face, check a box saying you agree to the terms of service, and then get a grid of pictures of faces that are similar to the one you uploaded, with links to where they are on the internet. Sounds interesting, isn’t it?
For $29.99 a month, a website called PimEyes gives users a superpower from science fiction that could be dangerous: the ability to search for a face. This lets users find faces in photos that would have been hard to find in the vast digital haystack that is the internet.
The New York Times tested PimEyes by putting it on the faces of a dozen of its own journalists, with their permission. The company found photos of every person, including some that the journalists had never seen before. This was true even when the person was wearing sunglasses or a mask or had their face turned away from the camera.
A decade ago, PimEyes found a photo of a reporter dancing at an art museum event and crying after being asked out. The reporter didn’t like the photo, but the photographer used it to promote his business on Yelp. In 2011, the younger version of a tech reporter was seen in an awkward crowd of fans at the Coachella music festival.
A foreign correspondent was the life of every party, judging by how many wedding photos he was in. In 2019, he was in the blurry background of a photo taken of someone else at a Greek airport. A journalist’s past as a member of a rock band came to light, as did another journalist’s favorite summer camp spot.
Giorgi Gobronidze, a 34-year-old professor, has bought PimEyes. He says that Russian cyberattacks on his home country, Georgia, sparked his interest in high-tech things.
Gobronidze said that he thought PimEyes could be used to help people keep an eye on their online reputation. For example, if a journalist didn’t like the photo a photographer was using, he could now ask the photographer to take it down from his Yelp page.
Gobronidze said that PimEyes users should only look for their own faces or the faces of people who have agreed to it. But he said that he was counting on people to act “ethically,” which wasn’t much of a defense against the fact that technology is making it harder and harder to stay anonymous in a crowd.
PimEyes doesn’t have any controls to stop people from searching for a face that isn’t their own, and it suggests that people pay a lot of money to get rid of embarrassing photos from a bad night.
Are there any exceptions?
Even though Gobronidze has said that PimEyes‘ Face Search Engine should only be used for self-searches, he is open to other uses as long as they are “ethical.” He said he liked investigative reporters and the part PimEyes played in figuring out who the Americans were who stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.
The Times lets its reporters use face recognition search engines for their work, but they have to follow some rules. A Times spokeswoman, Danielle Rhoades Ha, said, “Each request to use a facial recognition tool for reporting must be reviewed and approved by a senior member of the masthead and our legal department.” This is to make sure that the use of the tool meets our standards and the law.
Gobronidze doesn’t want some users. In a show of support for Ukraine, he just blocked people from Russia from the site. He said that, like Clearview AI, PimEyes was willing to give its service away for free to Ukrainian groups or the Red Cross if it could help find missing people.
Clearview AI, which is better known, has run into a lot of trouble in Europe and around the world. Privacy regulators in Canada, Australia, and parts of Europe have said that Clearview’s database of 20 billion face images is against the law and have told the company to delete the photos of their citizens. Italy and Britain both gave fines worth many millions of dollars.
So, that’s all about Face Search Engine. For more updates, stay tuned!!
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