More Russian social-media face recognition: Criminals instantly identified by AI from CCTV footage

Posted on Apr 23, 2016 by Rick Falkvinge

Russia’s FindFace service, which has been in the news for identifying random subway passengers and for people using it to de-anonymize porn talent, continues to show the effects of an AI connected to social media photos. This time, the face-matching AI instantly found two criminals from CCTV footage.

Two criminals were caught on CCTV giving the finger to the camera just before they set fire to a new building in St Petersburg. Their faces were clearly visible in the CCTV footage, and their identity could be determined immediately by the AI from their social media portraits on vKontakte, the Russian equivalent of Facebook.

This is just the beginning, and Russia’s FindFace service is showing us a little bit of what the future looks like. In short, having an identified photo where your face is visible – which most if not all of us have – looks like it is going to be just as troubling as publishing your DNA sequence and your fingerprints to the entire world.

This is not about good or evil, as much as it is about the inevitability of technological progress, and the inevitability of society changing with that technological progress. It allows new ways to safeguard privacy, as well as new ways to lose it. Whether one likes this technology or not, it’s obviously here to stay, and it’s available to everybody.

Privacy remains your own responsibility.

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  1. Antimon555

    I ask you: How can privacy still be one’s own responsibility, as opposed to completely impossible, with this technology invented and not banned (which would likely be ineffective anyway)?

    The only way of taking own responsibility to remain private now, is to wear a face mask wherever there are cameras. Try that anywhere in public – even if it is, as far as I know, not illegal here in Sweden unless there is risk of violence or similar – you’d be lucky not to get arrested, not to talk about getting your errand done.
    That, or smashing every camera you see – and that is indeed illegal and not recommended.

    How? Please answer.

    8 years ago