Facial recognition machine for $60

April 17, 2019

Topic

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For The New York Times, Sahil Chinoy on privacy and how easy it is now to automate surveillance through public video feeds:

To demonstrate how easy it is to track people without their knowledge, we collected public images of people who worked near Bryant Park (available on their employers’ websites, for the most part) and ran one day of footage through Amazon’s commercial facial recognition service. Our system detected 2,750 faces from a nine-hour period (not necessarily unique people, since a person could be captured in multiple frames). It returned several possible identifications, including one frame matched to a head shot of Richard Madonna, a professor at the SUNY College of Optometry, with an 89 percent similarity score. The total cost: about $60.

A part of me finds this creepy. The other part wants to try out the system.