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Another facial recognition firm sees money in biometric mining

 

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Executives at a Polish facial recognition service firm, PimEyes, say their software can look at an uploaded image and locate other images of that person online.

The service is similar to but more limited than Clearview AI‘s controversial face-scraping application. It also is not unlike a legacy service from a Russian neural network company that at one time searched social media profiles for matches to uploaded images.

PimEyes’ free tool searches only sites and platforms — including some social media sites — that are open to the public. Revenue is generated through premium services, according to media reports.

According to technology news site OneZero, premium features include getting alerts every time the tool recognizes a newly uploaded image matching one submitted by a customer. Search alerts can be set for up to 25 people.

There is a basic, 24-hour, account that costs $9.99, and allows for one alert. A so-called professional subscription is $14.69 per month, and provides multiple alerts.

The company also sells access to its database to developers, with a maximum of 100 million searches per month. PimEyes’ site indicates that this level costs $19.99 “+$100 credits for start.” It is not explained what that fee buys in terms of access time or number of comparisons.

It is hard to find a similar service that has proven successful and free of controversy.

Clearview AI continues to sell subscriptions through which organizations, namely law enforcement agencies, try to match uploaded images against the 3 billion to 4 billion photos that the company has scraped from social media platforms and other sources.

But it is mired in multiple lawsuits that threaten to multiply. And the leaders of social media sites — among the wealthiest one-percenters on the planet — are increasingly agitated that their members are being farmed by someone other than themselves.

In its early days NtechLab marketed FindFace, a tool with which a person could take a picture of literally anyone anywhere with a digital camera and match it against the world’s social media images.

NtechLab has moved on from what it called a dating app to government surveillance. A Forbes article in January 2020 indicates that the company has been paid at least $3.2 million to plug its algorithm into the tens of thousands of municipal surveillance cameras around Moscow.

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