NTechLab, the Moscow-based team behind an app that can search Russia’s version of Facebook to find particular faces, has turned its attention to Twitter. A new version of its FindFace app launched Friday with the capability of tracking down an individual’s face among 300 million Twitter accounts in under one second.
Twitter has already responded indicating that the app is in violation of its rules, and NTechLab co-founder was open with BuzzFeed reporters about not having consulted with Twitter on FindFace’s new capability. It could land the organization in trouble in the US, with state legislation concerning the collection of biometric data having ensnared major companies like Facebook and Google into class action lawsuits.
In Russia, an artist drew attention to FindFace’s privacy implications earlier this year with a project in which he used the software to track down the social media profiles of random subway commuters. Later, online trolls used the software to track and harass performers from pornographic videos.
None of this appears to have ruffled NTechLab, which reported this past summer that its app was proving popular among the public and that even government security officials had approached the company about working together. The companies developers are reportedly sanguine about its prospects with Twitter, too, hoping that the company will eventually want to collaborate.
December 19, 2016 – by Alex Perala