“…PimEyes currently has only 6,000 users signed up, with 350 enrolled in a premium version of the service.”
Despite a small user base, a web-based facial recognition service is coming under scrutiny over its potential misuse.
The service, PimEyes, allows users to upload an image featuring an individual’s face, and then have it search the internet for other images featuring that same individual. As the BBC reports, the site was started as a hobby in 2017, and became a commercial endeavor last year.
Now, the UK’s Big Brother Watch is warning that the site could be used for police and state surveillance, as well as by stalkers and other malefactors. Women who have fled abusive partners, for example, could be at risk if the latter use the service to track them down.
For its part, Poland-based PimEyes says that its service helps people to find images of themselves that might have been uploaded to the internet without their consent, and the company says that it does not use images taken from social media, unlike the controversial US-based facial recognition service Clearview AI.
Like that firm, however, PimEyes is working with law enforcement authorities, the company has acknowledged.
In any case, PimEyes currently has only 6,000 users signed up, with 350 enrolled in a premium version of the service. As such, it seems unlikely to stir up the kind of controversy wrought by Clearview AI, which had granted access to its service to thousands of organizations, including police services and commercial companies. In any case, PimEyes’ emergence nevertheless indicates the breadth of this new frontier of biometric surveillance beyond the high-profile case of Clearview AI.
Source: BBC News
June 15, 2020 – by Alex Perala