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#363976 - 06/11/11 12:46 AM Facebook uses face identification database
pufferfish Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/26/08
Posts: 6875
Loc: USA
I just finished watching ABC's Nightline. Sometimes I see things there that I don't see anywhere else.

I was originally going to refrain from posting this information because it is somewhat outrageous. But on second thought I decided you have a right to know about this.

They (Nightline) reported that Facebook uses a face-identification program on all the faces that are entered in their social program. Nightline says that their face identification routine is extremely accurate. They have collected and identified 500 million faces. Facebook doesn't tell you that they are doing with this information. These faces are all in a database. The database is extremely fast and can recognize faces immediately.

According to ABC's Nightline, Facebook refused to be interviewed about their practice.

Just think. That's a lot of power! To whom much is given, much is required. They could be using this face recognition software to do good. There are lots of lost and missing children and teens out there. They could be helping with this problem. They could be using it to help find wanted criminals.

Why do they do it? What are they doing with this information?

Allen


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#363977 - 06/11/11 02:37 AM Re: Facebook uses face identification database [Re: pufferfish]
Napoleon Offline


Registered: 04/06/11
Posts: 166
Loc: Utah
Google had a really good facial recognition program first. I actually wonder if google didn’t' sell or lease their software to face book. It was only a matter of time tell someone released this technology.

“What are they doing with this information?” Actually Google was holding off on releasing this technology simply because of privacy concerns.

“because it is somewhat outrageous.” Yes it is…
I do believe that while its time to start asking these questions, the software and the ability to process it, just aren’t there yet. There is only so much you can do with 2 d photo’s. Some people look similar in real life, but with a photo, they look even more alike. Looking at the 5 people in the photo you just uploaded to face book, and matching them in your less than 5,000 friends, or looking for 5-10 criminals in a crowd of 5,-000 is certainly doable, but when you start looking for 1’000s in millions, the current technology just won’t work. Even if you had a DNA sample of everyone you would start producing duplications after 1,000,000 samples or less. 2d photos, you would start producing duplicate identities at a much smaller sampling.

I don’t think there is a whole lot to worry or debate about this just yet. Until 3d photos using equipment like Xbox’s Connect become more common place, And processors get more powerful, then there may be concern, and the possibility to use this to the benefit you speak.


_________________________
“Your only limit within reason, is the one that you set up in your own mind.” Napoleon Hill, The Law of Success, 1925.

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#363990 - 06/11/11 11:22 AM Re: Facebook uses face identification database [Re: Napoleon]
Ever-fixed Mark Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/02/10
Posts: 729
Loc: United States
For those who would like to turn this feature off, The Huffington Post has an article How to Disable Facebook's New Facial recognition feature that is worth reading.

-efm

_________________________

Everybody here's got a story to tell
Everybody's been through their own hell
There's nothing too special about getting hurt
Getting over it, that takes the work

- "Duck and Cover" by Glen Phillips

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#364002 - 06/11/11 05:59 PM Re: Facebook uses face identification database [Re: Ever-fixed Mark]
pufferfish Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/26/08
Posts: 6875
Loc: USA
Nightline was under the impression that the software was very good. They had to get their information from some insider. They claimed the software was provided by a third party. The company was actually named and demonstrated by one of their employees. I'm sorry I don't remember the name of that software company.

Nightline did claim that there had been some crooks apprehended in airports. But this isn't good enough. Use of such a program could obviate a lot of the current searching in airports.

Allen


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#364013 - 06/11/11 11:20 PM Re: Facebook uses face identification database [Re: pufferfish]
Canuck Offline


Registered: 05/26/10
Posts: 57
Loc: CA, United States
Actually, I'm fairly certain that the software is stunningly good, and very fast to boot.

I used to provide software for government enforcement agencies, and we worked with companies that build this kind of software. In 2001 I was at an industry convention, and went to the booth of one of the providers. I let them take ONE photo of me (front facing) and then, walked around back of the booth, and then went down two aisles,(about 100 to 150 feet away) and walked in front of their booth. There were probably about 30 people near me. They had a VIDEO CAMERA at their booth (again, about 100 - 150 feet away) and as I blended with the crowd and walked past the booth, their software recognized me from a SIDE view, and set off their little alarm and lights. As the convention went on, and they had more and more people "registered" they eventually had to turn off the alarm, because is was on all the time. They told me that they could scan a sports arena FULL of people and it would alert them to whoever was in their database. They were working with some European countries to use the software at soccer games to identify known trouble causers.

The software encodes certain facial geometries into a fairly small set of variables. Once the image is encoded, the DATA is compared, NOT the image. In the case of the video example above, they DO have to encode the passing faces very quickly, but they can have a HUGE database of target faces, and match them very quickly.

Given the rate of power doubling of computers since 2001, and the fact that this was done with MUCH lower resolution VIDEO images, and that Facebook and Google have access to much greater resolution and power, I'd say that it's quite likely that whatever they're doing now is virtually flawless, and quite rapid. They can encode the images as they come in, and compare the small chunk of data to ALL of the already encoded images fairly quickly, I'd guess.

In August, 2010 Google's Eric Schmidt said: "People aren't ready for the technology revolution." (http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/google_ceo_schmidt_people_arent_ready_for_the_tech.php)

And what he was talking about was the evaporation of privacy. The technology is already in place - privacy isn't even a debatable concept any more. Privacy is dead.


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#364016 - 06/12/11 12:24 AM Re: Facebook uses face identification database [Re: Canuck]
pufferfish Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/26/08
Posts: 6875
Loc: USA
That's a really good explanation, Canuck.

Do you know whether the algorithm could distinguish the features of a child, such as in my picture in my avatar, and then be able to "morph" that algorithm to an adult algorithm, such as my adult picture?

Allen


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#364017 - 06/12/11 01:20 AM Re: Facebook uses face identification database [Re: pufferfish]
Canuck Offline


Registered: 05/26/10
Posts: 57
Loc: CA, United States
I'm not aware of any such function. But we've all seen "computer aging" results on various "Amber Alert" types of stories. They seem to do an OK job. You could easily take the output of that, and then try to do a match. I'd have to guess that the odds of a good match that way are somewhat lower at least at this point, but I don't think it will be too many more years before even that is pretty reliably accomplished.

I think what Schmidt was trying to point out is that computers REALLY have become much more intelligent than people are capable of understanding. The human brain is extraordinarily computing intensive, but computers are getting very close, and when they MATCH our capability, they will be TWICE as capable within about a year or so! It's hard to even conceive of what that means. What does it mean to be twice as intuitive as a human?

Computer processors are so complex now, that humans don't even engineer them completely any more. They need computers to optimize the circuitry, and often we are surprised at the optimizations that the computers come up with. There are engineering teams who's job it is to reverse engineer what the computer came up with to understand WHY it is better.

It is hard for us to really see these advances because we all do what we always did with computers. We play games, we write on a social site, we watch a movie. Five years ago, you couldn't do all of those things at the same time. Today you can, but the sneaky thing is: Now our video games are infinitely more sophisticated with lifelike animation, and our movies are high def, and we're streaming them, and the social sites have full-blown photo editors and word processors built-in - and these are all the LEAST intuitive functions that computers are capable of.

Well anyhow... way off the track. Awfully enjoyable discussion though!



Edited by Canuck (06/12/11 01:23 AM)

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#364019 - 06/12/11 01:52 AM Re: Facebook uses face identification database [Re: Canuck]
Napoleon Offline


Registered: 04/06/11
Posts: 166
Loc: Utah
It think if you uploaded a photo of someone who was more than say 3 friends disconnected the software would fail to make the recognition.

We have a reunion coming up in a month. I am going to try it. I am going to get photos that are 1-3 steps removed and see what happens. Most of us on face book are all connected, I have 115 friends and some of them are family. I think some of the friends will fail. I drought it will make many of the 1 steps, but think that some will work-- what you do you guys think?

_________________________
“Your only limit within reason, is the one that you set up in your own mind.” Napoleon Hill, The Law of Success, 1925.

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#364027 - 06/12/11 09:19 AM Re: Facebook uses face identification database [Re: Napoleon]
Canuck Offline


Registered: 05/26/10
Posts: 57
Loc: CA, United States
Facebook says that they will ONLY use the automatic "tagging" for FRIENDS, not even for "friends of friends" so if what they say is true, then it won't automatically show you the "tags" of people who are not on your immediate friends list - even if Facebook knows who they are.

That's kind of not really the point, though. The point is that FACEBOOK will be able to identify most everyone who has been properly tagged. So, YOU won't be able to upload the photo of some unknown person and find out who they are; but people who have access to the internal workings of the software should be able to do this with no problem at all.

This isn't a "proximity" related technological limitation. Essentially the software looks at your uploaded photo, and matches against ALL known faces, has a list of who it recognizes, and then offers as tags all of the people in the photo who it knows AND are your friend.

The short nightline video is here: http://youtu.be/VQFhgk_rn6o
At the end of the clip, they tell you to take pictures of yourself with different disguises on and upload them to nightline - they will run them through the software and see if still recognizes you.


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#364223 - 06/15/11 01:36 AM Re: Facebook uses face identification database [Re: Canuck]
Napoleon Offline


Registered: 04/06/11
Posts: 166
Loc: Utah
I can think of a use for this software... Like these tens of thousands of images.

http://www.cnn.com/2011/CRIME/06/14/new.york.child.cybercrime/index.html?hpt=ju_c2

And this is just one recent bust, I know of others that included many more images.

Just have the cops get a photo of each of kid when a rape is reported, or just use old school pictures on face book, since many of these kids will have become older now and then... As much good use as I could think of for this… Unfortunately I don't think the software is really as good as you all think it is. Someday it will be.

_________________________
“Your only limit within reason, is the one that you set up in your own mind.” Napoleon Hill, The Law of Success, 1925.

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