February 9, 2013

Pornographers to Use Facial-Recognition Technology

By Russ Warner, CEO of ContentWatch-makers of Net Nanny

Pornographers have hit a new low using high tech.

Two pornography web sites are taking advantage of facial-recognitiontechnology to motivate porn purveyors to upload photos of people they know in order to find those people, or a lookalike, in their database of smut.  They also encourage porn viewers to upload photos of their favorite porn performers in order to find more of their “work.”

One web site specifically encourages people to find random images of girls on Instagram or other sites to try to match them to images in their databases.  Their goal is to bridge the gap between consumers’ needs and product in stock.

Federal Trade Commission guidelines on the use of facial recognition technology simply recommends that companies “design their services with privacy in mind.”

The FTC guideline states that companies must “obtain a consumer’s affirmative express consent before a) using his or her image in a materially different manner than they represented when they collected the data, or b) to identify anonymous images of a consumer to someone who could not otherwise identify him or her.”
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse director Beth Givens told an FTC summit on facial recognition technology there is insufficient public awareness about facial recognition tech and, more importantly, there are no auditing mechanisms in place for any entity using the technology.
I hope no one finds out the hard way whether or not these porn sites’ databases are maintained with mechanisms in place to deal with inappropriate, false, or misattributed data, such as database inclusion without consent.

I also hope both pornography web sites are planning to implement the FTC’s October staff report on facial recognition image practices, in which the ACLU notes: The FTC recommends that companies using face recognition “design their services with privacy in mind.”

I think these web sites will likely wait to see what happens and pay for the law suits that result, if any.  In summary, words cannot adequately express how the lives of the innocent are going to be negatively affected by the use of this technology by pornographers.

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