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Facial Recognition without Seeing Faces
By: Jessica Cherok
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Facebook’s facial recognition technology is impressive. Impressively creepy, that is.

Apparently, an experimental version of Facebook’s facial recognition technology is so smart it doesn’t even need to see your face to know it’s you. This version can identify you based off of your clothing, hair, and body shape. The technology uses our habits – favorite hoodie, poses, that hairstyle you’ve had for forever – to identify you in place of being able to clearly see your face.

Facebook’s AI lab is the one heading up the new tech. They pulled public photos from Flickr to test and improve the algorithm. The results were impressive, correctly identifying up to 83% correctly. This kind of tech could mean a lot for Facebook, who is currently promoting its new app, Moments, which helps tag friends in photos from specific events.

However, such a significant advancement in facial technology also raises concerns over privacy. Being tagged in photographs without permission is something that makes many people uncomfortable. When Facebook first debuted its facial recognition technology they faced harsh criticism about not getting users’ permission before tagging them in photos posted on the social media site. As a result, Facebook changed the way tagging permissions were handled.

The new technology is not yet available on Facebook, but considering its implications on its ability to quickly share photos, it will likely be implemented soon.

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About the Author
Jessica Cherok is an advocate for online privacy, campaigning for ethical data practices and the protection of personal privacy.
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