our dark future

Facial Tracking Gets an App

No longer is facial tracking relegated to the realm of governments, retailers, or hackers. Russian startup FindFace marries facial recognition technology and public databases to create an app that can identifies of strangers with over 70% accuracy. Scared yet? In terms of functionality, the tool couldn't be more simple. Take a picture of a stranger, submit the photo, and the app will search through photos on VK (Eastern Europe's Facebook equivalent) to find the top matches. The neural net algorithm from NTechLab behind this tech is the same one that the won MegaFace with 73% accuracy. Russian security firm Kaspersky Lab performed a quick test in... read more »

Metadata and the Lie of Anonymity

Whenever some company or government organization unveils some massive, privacy invading technology, the reveal is always immediately accompanied with qualifications that "don't worry, the data is anonymized." PR departments assure us that trustworthy computer code scrubs everything that could identify us individually from the vat of indistinguishable data. Of course that's just a convenient lie. Researchers from Stanford published a paper today entitled "Evaluating the privacy properties of telephone metadata" in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The research attempts to quantify just how much individual information can be gathered from "anonymous" metadata. It turns out it's a lot. The study used 800 volunteers... read more »