He was among the coordinators of a convention, for the biometrics security industry. Maybe more to the point, several the merchandise on display, like an airport face-scan checkpoint, could trace their lineage to his work.
A physicist, Dr. Atick is among the leader entrepreneurs of modern face recognition. Having helped improve the essential face-fitting technology in the 1990s, the physicist boosted the systems to government agencies looking to identify offenders or prevent identity fraud and went into company. “The physicist saved lives,” he said during the summit in mid-March. “The physicist have solved offenses.”
Thanks in part to his innovations, biometrics’ international company — using people’s exact physical characteristics, like facial features and their fingerprint ridges, verify or to discover their identity — is booming.
Joseph Atick, a leader in the business, now worries that if face-fitting is taken too far, it could allow mass surveillance, “essentially robbing everyone of their anonymity.”
Making his rounds at the trade show, Dr. Atick, a short, slender man with an indeterminate Mediterranean emphasis, warmly greeted business representatives at their exhibit booths. Once he was out of earshot, nevertheless, he worried about what he was seeing. What were those firms’ policies for reusing and keeping consumers’ facial data? Could they identify people without their explicit permission? Were they working face-fitting queries for government agencies?
Now a business adviser, Dr. Atick locates himself in a sensitive situation. While encouraging and benefiting from a business which he helped foster, he also feels compelled to warn against its unfettered proliferation. Instead, what troubles himself is the possible exploitation of face recognition to identify unwitting and average citizens as they go about their lives in public. Online, we’re all monitored.
Face-fitting now could empower mass surveillance, “essentially robbing everyone of their anonymity,” himself says, and inhibit people’s standard behaviour outside their houses.
Face recognition to many in the biometrics industry is not any different from an automobile, an unbiased technology whose benefits far outweigh the dangers. The conveniences of biometrics appear self evident: Your exceptional code mechanically accompanies you.
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Dr. Atick sees convenience in these types of uses as well. But the physicist supplies a cautionary counterexample to make his claim. The physicist heard about NameTag, an app that, according to its news release, was accessible in an early kind to individuals, just a couple of months back. Users had to glance at a stranger and NameTag would immediately return a match whole with that stranger’s name, public and profession Facebook profile information.
(His thoughts were shared Democrat of Minnesota, by Senator Al Franken and chairman of the Senate subcommittee on technology, seclusion and the law. Concerned that NameTag might ease stalking, Mr. Franken requested that its public launch be delayed; in late April, the program’s developer said he’d comply with the request. Google has said that facial recognition programs will not be approved by it on Google Glass.)
Dr. Atick is just as troubled by what could be brewing quietly in bigger firms. Over recent years, face recognition startup companies have been got by several technology giants. In 2011, a computer vision company Pittsburgh Pattern Recognition, was purchased by Google. In 2012, Facebook purchased Face.com, an Israeli startup.
Unlike fingerprinting or other biometric techniques, face recognition can be used without people’s knowledge, at a space; it could then link the many images they’ve set online and their faces and identities. But in America, face recognition is governed by no special national law. A department of the Commerce Department is coordinating a meeting of consumer advocates and business representatives on Tuesday to begin hammering out a voluntary code of conduct for the commercial use of the technology.
Dr. Atick has been working behind the scenes to determine the result. “Individuals believe the business has to own up,” he declares. “If we don’t step up to the plate and take duty, there could be sudden uses and results.”
A couple of uses of face recognition are trivial. It is what enables Google Plus and Facebook to automatically imply members’ buddies in pictures or name tags for they.
And more programs could be in the works. Google has applied for a patent on a process to identify faces in videos and on one to enable individuals to log on to apparatus by making or winking other facial expressions. Facebook researchers recently reported the firm had developed a strong pattern recognition system which had reached near-human truth in identifying people’s faces.
But real time, automated face recognition is a market technology, a comparatively recent phenomenon and, at least for now.