The website PimEyes uses a face recognition system that can scan through more than 900 million images in less than one second.
The Washington Post reported that this is one of the most capable face-searching mechanisms on Earth that can scan through millions of images from across the internet and discover matches with astounding preciseness.
What's even more interesting and impressive about this technology is that anyone can use it. While most tools for facial recognition are designed and reserved for government or police use, PimEyes is for everyone. It is open for the masses, for whatever purpose.
Minus the public oversight or rules from the government that controls the use of a facial recognition system, researchers expect that sites like PimEyes will increase in number to keep tabs on people's personal lives.
How Facial Recognition System Works
Facial recognition system has turned out to be a growingly widespread investigative tool for law enforcements and government authorities. It is also designed for stores, schools and airports to verify identities of visitors and enhance security.
However, with PimEyes, it is now easier for the general public to tap its artificial intelligence or AI power. When a user submits a photo of a person's face, the website will then return a catalog of images linked to other sites where that person appears around the internet, including news stories, personal blogs, photo albums and old videos.
The search results do not include exact names, although they provide detail and accuracy that has left some people shocked.
A 40-year-old man from Germany, for instance, according to a similar The Seattle Times report, said he ran a 17-year-old picture of himself drinking beer on a train. He was blown away when the website returned a link to a recent YouTube video of him.
Basic Human Right
In its online "manifesto", PimEyes said, it believes searching for a person's face online should be a basic human right that's open to anyone, not just businesses and governments, and that its work is "counterintuitively," an advantage for privacy.
PimEyes is selling subscription packages to people wanting to find where their pictures have been posted online, or receive alert when they are posted in some other sites.
Although they have built a search engine designated to solving online mysteries, the developers will not say practically anything about themselves.
A company representative, who preferred to be identified only as "the director," declined questions about how the company is working, who is involved with it, or even where it is based. The representative added, staying completely anonymous is very essential to them.
Criticisms Including Violation of Data-Privacy Laws
PimEyes has defended itself against criticism, including the data-privacy laws like the General Data Protection Regulation of the European Union, which restricts the use of facial recognition by saying, it could be used only by people who upload their own image.
However, the company enforces that rule with a single checkbox that any individual can simply click to avoid. PimEyes has no other rules enforced to stop anyone from sourcing the internet for someone else.
The most valued resource, the director said, is information and they allow people to search for, monitor and protect in information about themselves. The company representative also added, they do not discourage people to search for other people.
This report said, on 4chan, as well as on other anonymous forums, PimEyes subscribers with deeper search capabilities compared to unpaid users, subscription fees start at roughly $30 per month.
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