Facebook can “see” you in photos- even if you aren’t looking

There is technology already in place that can recognize you in photos but what happens when your face is hidden.  From an article in New Scientist, the research team at Facebook has found a way to ID people without access to their faces.

An experimental algorithm out of Facebook’s artificial intelligence lab can recognise people in photographs even when it can’t see their faces. Instead it looks for other unique characteristics like your hairdo, clothing, body shape and pose.

The algorithm results in an 83 percent accuracy rate.  It gathers data from relationships, events, etc to form a final “picture” of the person that can then be compared to Facebook’s users.

Moments scours through a phone’s photos, sorting them into separate events like a friend’s wedding or a trip to the beach and tagging whoever it recognises as a Facebook friend.

The method raises security concerns however.  If you block your face with the intention of not being identified there’s no guarantee you won’t be.

“If, even when you hide your face, you can be successfully linked to your identify, that will certainly concern people,” says Ralph Gross at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who says the algorithm is impressive. “Now is a time when it’s important to discuss these questions.”

So let this be a warning, Big Brother is watching and his name is Facebook.