So long, privacy; hello, facial recognition tech

Facial recognition tech

Could facial recognition technology destroy our privacy? What do you think? Yes, you, Erica Dolittle of Bishop, Minn. By the way, are you still drinking Pepsi? PHOTO: 123rf

Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name.

Other times, you want to get through your day anonymously.

Sorry. In the not-too-distant future (next Sunday, A.D.), you may not have that option. The Guardian in London reports that facial recognition technology is posed to take a turn for the scary.

According to the paper, the technology is evolving rapidly to the point where tech heads at Google think they can incorporate facial recognition into wearable gadgets like Google Glass.

That means you can walk down the street, look at some and immediately know his or her name. With the web-browsing power at your command, you can conceivably has a complete dossier on a person within a matter of moments.

Cogitate on that for a moment.

Some guy checks you out at the mall, and by the time you reach the food cart, he’s seen your baby pictures and knows about your fascination with Barry Manilow.

Naturally, people will no doubt be able to opt for privacy safeguards — just as they do now on Facebook. However, they will have to opt for them. Privacy will be something you will have to consciously choose and be tech savvy enough to implement.

Speaking of Facebook, the science club kids over there are also excited about the potential of facial recognition technology.

The Guardian reports they’re unveiling a program called DeepFace (yes, they came up with that name all by themselves) that can tell whether two photographs show the same person — regardless of changes in lighting and camera angles.

Facial recognition technology may make the mad scientist types out there giggle in that disturbing way they way, but dog-gone it, U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., doesn’t like it.

“Unlike other biometric identifiers such as iris scans and fingerprints, facial recognition is designed to operate at a distance, without the knowledge or consent of the person being identified,” the Guardian quotes his open letter to Google and the creators of its NameTag tech.

“Individuals cannot reasonably prevent themselves from being identified by cameras that could be anywhere — on a lamp post, attached to an unmanned aerial vehicle or, now, integrated into the eyewear of a stranger,” he says.

And God and Google only know what will happen when this technology falls into Madison Avenue’s grasping hands.

The Guardian reports the 2002 movie “Minority Report” (where people walk down the street and, thanks to facial recognition technology, are bombarded with ads customized to their peculiar tastes) is about to become a reality.

A place where everybody knows your name, face and favorite drink? That place could soon be planet Earth.

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