London: Identifying people from their images
posted online could soon be a reality, as a software firm has
announced that it has developed a revolutionary technology
that will give a name to every photograph in the Internet.
Face.com, which is yet to release the facial recognition
technology, said the software can help netizens identify
people on social networking sites and online galleries by
comparing their images against known pictures of them.
It means detailed profiles of individuals can be built up
purely from online photographs and critics have said it could
lead to exploitation by employers, the Daily Mail reported.
According to its developers, the software works by
creating an algorithm of the face -- a measurement of
the arrangement of features including the eyes, nose and
The company claimed it is 90 per cent accurate when
scanning typical images which appear on social networking
"We have launched a service that allows developers to
take our facial recognition technology and apply it
immediately to their own applications," Gil Hirsch, chief
executive of Face.com, was quoted as saying.
"The technology is already being used by 5,000
developers. You can basically search for people in any photo.
"You could search for family members on Flickr, in
newspapers, or in videos on YouTube - but it would take a lot
of processing power."
The use of facial detection technology has only been used
by the UK Border Agency. Google has a tool -- Picasa -- which
allows users to organise their photos by tagging matching
faces and Facebook uses Photo Finder.
Supporters of the software, including the Red Cross, have
said it could be used to track people lost in humanitarian
disasters. But there are strong concerns over the accuracy of
the technology and its impact on privacy.
Simon Davies, director of Privacy International, said: "I
think this will make many people very uneasy.
"The regulators have been hugely behind the curve of
protecting people`s privacy on the Internet. We need to push
for much tighter international rules."