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Yes, and?

With OpenCV, I already have face detection, face recognition, eye detection, cascade creation (for detection of any feature I wish), a retinal model in conjunction with retinal scanning via webcam, and other power tools in that bag.

And it's all open source. It's easy enough, I made it myself: https://github.com/jwcrawley/uWHo




This isn't about face recognition technology, it's about face recognition data. The EFF and friends want to come up with standards for storing, securing and sharing face-recognition data between companies and government entities. These standards make sense—and need some minimum level of scrutiny—regardless of how easy facial recognition technology is to implement.

Writing software that parses Social Security numbers into lists is even easier than face recognition, and yet we still want standards around handling the information!

Okay, that was a slightly facetious example, but the point stands: it's a question of securing data, not technology.


Who cares if it's easy or not? Consumer/passerby protection rules are not going to stop you, a person with nothing to lose. This is about the use of such technology in a commercial setting.

It's a bit like my pirate radio station. I have it, I broadcast to a very limited distance, whatever, I don't really worry about the white vans. If I put a 400 kW TV transmitter on top of a mountain, that's a very different story.


Lets take the same analogy...

So, if I buy/build a 1GP camera array, and drive it around the city, capturing all the data, "that's a very different story"?

Your example is in violation of the FCC. Mine violates nothing.


Your example is in violation of the FCC. Mine violates nothing.

Well, yeah, that was kinda the idea. My point is that it doesn't matter what is technically possible if consumer protection rules were to come into place. The regulatory environment would curtail the largest (ab)uses of the technology as entities that would use the technology wouldn't want to take the risk.

edit: So, under hypothetical regulation on facial recognition, a watchdog agency isn't going to know/care about your driveway camera, but your business based on using that 1GP array to sell person tracking and demographic data would raise some eyebrows.

Was your point about the ease of implementation an expression that you'd do it anyway if the regulations came into place? Put your business on the line because you personally know how to implement it?


That it's easy to do is all the more reason to try to establish controls to prevent abuse.

It's trivially easy to sell customer data for profit at the expense of their privacy. It's easy to store personal information without securing it. It's easy to take credit cards without using SSL certs.

It's also easy to lock someone up and deny them due process, or to enter someone's home and seize their effects without a warrant, or to set absurdly high bail.

Etc. Again, it's because this is such an easy thing to do–and it's only going to become easier to collect, store, and analyze this data-that it makes sense to establish definitions of what constitutes fair use, and what constitutes abuse, and to do so sooner, rather than later.


So, what is the responsibility for capturing faces for recognition purposes when in a public setting? It's already established that members of the public can record events like arrests legally, thanks to 1st amendment defense.

But above is in public. What about "my" property? Or the supermarket? We already have cameras everywhere. Just look up. So what does it matter that they run software on the back end? The hardware is already there.

Walking in gives implicit permission that "you agree to be recorded or leave". Vandalization of cameras is criminal. Many places insist you not wear masks, or they call the cops.


The difference to me is that when your presence was merely recorded on video, it required the manual labor of humans to search for your face in the recording. This isn't something that is likely to happen unless authorities are looking for you in particular for some actual reason.

Now with it all automated, it just takes running some scripts on a computer system to locate your face from any number of sources, so people who are not particularly under suspicion for anything will have their whereabouts identified automatically just as if they were actual suspects.

Same story with automatic license plates readers. Manual searching for a license plate is so time-consuming that it's unlikely to get done without cause. With automatic systems, records can be kept of every car that passes through a monitored intersection, whether if the car or driver is of actual interest or not.


That particular arbitrary line in the sand seems mighty.. well.. arbitrary. The data is being collected either way, but it only becomes objectionable because a computer is involved? On what grounds?


I think it's a pretty big difference, going from labor-intensive manual inspection of data to fully automated inspection of data, opening up everyone within few of the camera to being automatically tracked.

It's not the same thing that's always been done, except now it's being done with a computer. It's the same thing that's always been done, except now it's being done for everyone, rather than for just a few select individuals of interest. It doesn't really matter that a computer is involved; it's the scope of the surveillance that is disconcerting. If huge numbers of humans were hired to track everyone manually, that would also be disconcerting.

Who cares? I'm not entirely sure. And I guess that's sort of the point. This level of surveillance has, in my opinion, surpassed what most of society is ready for. I don't think that most people have a good grasp on what's going on, or what impact it will / could have on their lives.

If arbitrary companies and government agencies can know my whereabouts at all times, should this have any impact to how I live my life? It's a question that society at large has never had to really answer before.


Every Law and regulation is arbitrary, why do you believe this should be any different?

At some point we as society say "this is the line, you can go no further"

Communities create standards for behavior that are arbitrary all the time...


Are you seriously implying that you see no difference between "thou shalt not kill" and "thou shalt not analyze images of public places with anything more complicated than an abacus" ??


Nice Strawman, but murder is not the only other law on the books

We have regulations for how tall your grass shall be, what color you can paint your home, how many dogs you are allowed to have etc etc etc etc.... 1000's of aribirary rules and regulations for society.

For businesses there are even more, things like handicapped parking, bathrooms, depending on the type of business the hours or days you are allowed to be open, etc etc etc 10's of thousands of rules arbitraly defined as to what a business can and can not do

This is more akin to regulations around either medical records, or finical records both have regulations around how the data can be stored, and how the business can use it.


No strawman - you're the one that said "any regulation is arbitrary" after all :)


The public is better off with reasonable restrictions on the mass collection of data. It is a utilitarian solution. What grounds are there to require wearing a seatbelt when driving a car?


I agree with you that they're a private company so they can do what they want with their business–I actually think private entities don't have enough rights on that front in many regards–but that doesn't mean that it isn't a conversation worth having, and or that they aren't unregulated entities–there are legal limits to what stores can do in their relationships with customers, how is this any different?

And walking in doesn't give implicit permission that I agree for them to store, analyze, sell, leak, publish or otherwise use that data however they please, in perpetuity. Are they allowed to disclose my presence to law enforcement without a warrant? Can they tell my health insurance provider that I spent an unusually long amount of time in the dessert aisle?

I'm sure a lawyer could argue (probably quite successfully) otherwise, but from a let's-address-the-problem-before-it's-fully-mature standpoint, these are the kinds of conversations we're supposed to be having right now.


> I agree with you that they're a private company so they can do what they want with their business–I actually think private entities don't have enough rights on that front in many regards–but that doesn't mean that it isn't a conversation worth having, and or that they aren't unregulated entities–there are legal limits to what stores can do in their relationships with customers, how is this any different?

Well, they are people. The only distinction is they have no voting rights in the elections.

> And walking in doesn't give implicit permission that I agree for them to store, analyze, sell, leak, publish or otherwise use that data however they please, in perpetuity.

The pharmacy counter is guarded by HIPAA and the payment done with credit card or debit card is protected by agreements from PCI DSS. The last catch-all is whatever the company's privacy policy is. No privacy policy = no FTC violation of privacy policy.

Further south of where I live, there's a sex toy shop with the following: http://www.covenanteyes.com/2009/08/26/truckers-pictures-tak...

The website's down, but they are still there, taking videos and photos of all who arrive. Completely legal.

But that's why I wrote uWHo. It's not hard. And I did so to push the envelope. People have chided me, and all I can say is look here: https://maps.google.com/locationhistory/b/0 and https://maps.google.com/locationhistory/b/0

> Are they allowed to disclose my presence to law enforcement without a warrant? Can they tell my health insurance provider that I spent an unusually long amount of time in the dessert aisle?

Can you do those things?

If so, why can't they?


> a retinal model in conjunction with retinal scanning via webcam

You probably mean iris. The retina is the back of the eye, very few if any real biometric systems use this. The iris is the colored area of the eye that surrounds the pupil. It's very texture rich and less invasive to obtain.


Acccording to the documentation, OpenCV contrib indicates a retinal model.

http://docs.opencv.org/modules/contrib/doc/retina/index.html


If you actually read the page, you'll see it's something different.


<grumble>

My understanding was that it could back-calculate the retinal map.

Alas, I was indeed wrong.

For those who don't mess with this OpenCV, what this does is bring the colorspace and attributes of an image to something that the eye would see.

camera picture + retinal filter = simulation of how the eye would see the picture captured by camera.


Hah, I was about to get mad at myself for not realizing retina biometrics were built in to OpenCV.

As someone who has worked a bit using OpenCV to detect eye features, I can say pretty confidently that it isn't THAT easy. OpenCV can help you start off by easily being able to detect that there is an eye in frame, but I think you are on your own beyond that.

My general approach was to use haarcascades to detect that an eye was in frame. Then you have to isolate the iris, and pupil. You can use Hough Circles or the Daugman algorithm for segmentation. I got a reasonable result using the Daugman algorithm, but Hough circles seemed to be more erratic. I had a huge problem with reflections though, which I think it is known that the Daugman algorithm suffers from. You pretty much have to take the picture of the eye in a controlled setting where you flash a light in the subjects eye such that the reflection in the eye is a small isolated circle. Even then I wasn't always to get a correct result. I think I may have not implemented the algorithm perfectly though.

I never got farther than that, but even if you are able to capture the eye perfectly you then have to actually build up a model of the persons features and then be able to compare it.

I would be interested if anyone else had better luck than I did.


GFK_of_xmaspast is right, it appears to be an image processing technique not biometric




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