The New York Times covers KIM partner Adam Harvey‘s new study of the MegaFace dataset.
Earlier, his research and database investigation had forced Microsoft, Duke and Stanford universities to delete training datasets for face recognition in an unprecedented event in the recent history of (corporate) AI.
Excerpt from: How Photos of Your Kids Are Powering Surveillance Technology by Kashmir Hill and Aaron Krolik, The New York Times, October 2019.
How Photos of Your Kids Are Powering Surveillance Technology: Millions of Flickr images were sucked into a database called MegaFace. Now some of those faces may have the ability to sue.
The pictures of Chloe and Jasper Papa as kids are typically goofy fare: grinning with their parents; sticking their tongues out; costumed for Halloween. Their mother, Dominique Allman Papa, uploaded them to Flickr after joining the photo-sharing site in 2005.
None of them could have foreseen that 14 years later, those images would reside in an unprecedentedly huge facial-recognition database called MegaFace. Containing the likenesses of nearly 700,000 individuals, it has been downloaded by dozens of companies to train a new generation of face-identification algorithms, used to track protesters, surveil terrorists, spot problem gamblers and spy on the public at large.
“It’s gross and uncomfortable,” said Mx. Papa, who is now 19 and attending college in Oregon. “I wish they would have asked me first if I wanted to be part of it. I think artificial intelligence is cool and I want it to be smarter, but generally you ask people to participate in research. I learned that in high school biology.”
By law, most Americans in the database don’t need to be asked for their permission — but the Papas should have been. As residents of Illinois, they are protected by one of the strictest state privacy laws on the books: the Biometric Information Privacy Act, a 2008 measure that imposes financial penalties for using an Illinoisan’s fingerprints or face scans without consent. Those who used the database — companies including Google, Amazon, Mitsubishi Electric, Tencent and SenseTime — appear to have been unaware of the law, and as a result may have huge financial liability, according to several lawyers and law professors familiar with the legislation.
Copyright: The New York Times 2019. All rights reserved.