Terrifying new research shows Facebook’s ambitions to track users has gone far beyond the company’s ‘old’ technology that recognises users faces, which in itself poses a dizzying array of privacy concerns.
The new development, dubbed Pose Invariant PErson Recognition (PIPER), gathers information about your clothing, hairstyles and body shapes and currently holds a 83% accuracy rate, already incredibly high and is expected to increase even further.
Yann LeCun, head of artificial intelligence at Facebook explained how it works:
“There are a lot of cues we use. People have characteristic aspects, even if you look at them from the back. For example, you can recognise Mark Zuckerberg very easily, because he always wears a gray T-shirt.”
In an effort to ease fears over the invasive technology, Facebook denied plans to integrate it onto their site.
Ari Entin, a Facebook spokesman told the media:
“This is so far, experimental, long-term research. I don’t think this is something that we would see any time soon.”
The networking giant are right to thread lightly as they have a history of violating privacy laws. In 2012 the company was ordered to destroy its facial recognition database in Germany after authorities deemed it was in violation of German law. In 2015 Facebook was sued by Carlo Licata who claimed he and others had their rights violated under the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA).
Despite the denials by Facebook that their new technology will not be used, when is the last time a tech company – one that can only survive financially by collecting information about its users and then selling that information, invested in highly invasive software that it did not use it for profit?