25 February 2010

The End of Anonymity

One of the (few) advantages I enjoy over Bill Gates is that I can walk down the street without people recognising me. Not for much longer:

An application that lets users point a smart phone at a stranger and immediately learn about them premiered last Tuesday at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. Developed by The Astonishing Tribe (TAT), a Swedish mobile software and design firm, the prototype software combines computer vision, cloud computing, facial recognition, social networking, and augmented reality.


TAT built the augmented ID demo, called Recognizr, to work on a phone that has a five-megapixel camera and runs the Android operating system. A user opens the application and points the phone's camera at someone nearby. Software created by Swedish computer-vision firm Polar Rose then detects the subject's face and creates a unique signature by combining measurements of facial features and building a 3-D model. This signature is sent to a server where it's compared to others stored in a database. Providing the subject has opted in to the service and uploaded a photo and profile of themselves, the server then sends back that person's name along with links to her profile on several social networking sites, including Twitter or Facebook.

But of course, the "opt-in" part is just a fig-leaf. It could be done just as easily even if they don't opt in, provided you have access to their photos, from a passport application, say, and a belief that you have a right - nay, duty - to keep watch over them, purely for their own protection, you understand.

Now, who could possibly fit that description? Any ideas, Gordon?

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Anonymous said...

I wanna use this on Chatroulette.

Glyn Moody said...

ha! - very sneaky...