Big Brother Is Catching Up

The killer app of the decade got closer yesterday with Facebook’s acquisition of

The combination makes possible the holding up of a smartphone towards a person and getting a read-out identifying that person and their biographical details.

Facebook is the largest repository on the planet of peoples’ photographs and 300 million new photos get loaded onto it every day. has the visual recognition technology to recognise an individual face in a photo or video and put a name to it. has an app in the Apple Apps store called Klik which shows you pictures of people to whom you are connected on Facebook with their personal details. has licensed its technology, called Photo Finder, to 5000 developers who are building applications allowing you to search for anyone who has a photo posted on the Internet.

“You can search for people in any photo – on Flikr, in newspapers, or in videos on YouTube – but it would take a lot of processing power,” according to founder and CEO Gil Hirsch.

The software reduces the measurements and characteristics of a face to an algorithm which can be compared to any photo.

Anyone who does not want to participate in this exciting new project of being instantly recognisable, identifiable, classifiable and trackable by any stranger, had better start doing some heavy duty photo deleting, starting with Facebook.



  1. Assuming this new tech works and can be made cheaply enough, I welcome it. Everyone will soon be able to know everything about everyone instead of this capability being restricted to shadowy organisations like M15 and the FBI. It’ll be a level playing field. Judge not lest ye be judged! And if you do manage to hide your identity, how suspicious will that look?! Take me as you find me has always been my motto – some of you may not be surprised to read.

  2. Don’t remind me of speeding fines from cameras, rip-offs from dodgy web-sites, hair-tearing frustration from flaky hardware, bafflement by shitty software Mr C, I’ve been there all too often.

  3. Mr M sounds like you have been caught a few times?

  4. Intriguing Fred, another application for willy recognition could be as a modern upgrade for the medieval chastity belt – a suitably positioned implant could monitor willies and a sensor attached to an alarm bell could sound a warning at the approach of an unauthorised willy.

  5. > you might want to think before you pee
    Willy recognition software built into a camera in the urinal? Feed your personal Willy ID back to Google / Facebook which stream back some “appropriate” advertising messages to the LCD monitor positioned above the urinal or to your smartphone for that matter. That would be interesting.
    Shitloads of opportunities in analysing when you take a dump as well but one thing at a time..

  6. Step 6: Ensure no one takes photos of you having that tête-à-tête. Also, you’d do well to leave behind that smart phone at home. And mask/hide your face as you walk out of the metro/bus/car park and into the watering hole. Take a dimly lit seat, facing a wall. Pay only by cash. And if you happen to be at a place blessed with high-tech everywhere, you might want to think before you pee. But do feel free to speak as boisterously as you like..after all, there is no yet, tracking you by your voice signature 🙂 Oops, have I just spilled the beans on a gazillion dollar telecom-gets-social idea?

  7. Wise words, as always, The Baron

  8. Step 5: Leave myface, spacebook, fritter etc. to the 12 year olds and chat to real people vis-a-vis over some fine food and/or refreshments of the falling-over-juice variety.
    The Baron

  9. A very sound strategy IMHO, Don’tAgree

  10. Step one: have a fake facebook profile, i.e. no real data especially name
    Step two: have a facebook profile picture without your face in it
    Step three: do not ever tag a photo (with yourself or anybody else)
    Step four: do not allow/ remove any tag someone else adds
    Step one also ensures that only nobody can find you and therefore only you decide who you want to ‘friend’. Step two helps with that too, plus avoids even tying your fake account to your face.
    Of course everything falls apart if you have another social network that does have all the real data, e.g. LinkedIn.

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