Farcical Recognition

Our community Facebook group recently had one member post images of alleged shoplifters, and even asked for their names, or perhaps it was just for the purpose of shaming the pair into oblivion. Unsurprisingly a huge community uproar ensued, with only a couple of people questioning if it’s an appropriate use of the channel.

What I did find surprising among the pile on, was one person commented with a link to the Pimeyes web service – mentioning they may get lucky and find the culprits from the images.

I couldn’t help myself, and wanted to check this site out. I happened to have an extremely obscure photo of myself pulling a strained facial expression – when my kids and I were goofing around to see who could look in the most painful state. So I uploaded the absurd picture and wondered how many similarly absurd people their algorithm would uncover.

My mind was blown!

It found just one character in their index of 900 million people, and it was me! A single image, I know that was taken in early 2012 which may have temporarily been a social media profile picture which was long since changed and deleted.

The Pimeyes service makes it money from the next actions available. You can either uncover the source of that file and associated info to help in your person hunt, for $27. OR, if the incriminating photo is you, for $70 they can purge the image and all information to keep your discovery safe from prying Facebook sleuths.

What a business model!

I regularly use facial recognition in managing my online photo albums, and find it quite amazing how it can match my kids’ baby photos to their current photos.

It was jarring though to fail to deceive a third party service with such a bad source file.

In a world where privacy feels increasingly elusive, the realization that a single photograph from my past transcended time and resurface with such ease is jarring. As I ponder the implications, a sense of vulnerability takes hold. I’m reminded that the digital realm can be an unforgiving archive. Despite my efforts to outsmart the technology, it possesses an eerie ability to cut through my disguise and reveal the truth, leaving me unsettled and questioning the extent of anyone’s control over their own image and identity.

Those two girls appearing to steal perfume and makeup at Westfield’s don’t stand a chance if they don’t change their ways.

Exhibit A