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    Los Angeles Times: How simple photos are leading to full profiles of ordinary people

    The Los Angeles Times takes a look at cameras with facial-recognition technology and what the increasing use of such technology means for individuals’ privacy:

    There may be nothing that technology is changing more dramatically than privacy. What is happening with our images online is just one example of our digital reality: We’re living life out loud — secrets and all. [...]

    Here is the simple math behind our brave new digital world, with its blurry boundaries between private and public: Photos + Name = Information.

    Photos — a snapshot at a party or a “selfie” shot in the bedroom — can reveal names, using tools such as Google Plus’ “Find My Face” and Facebook’s facial recognition software. And geo-tagged posts on social networks can reveal your name to complete strangers.

    Then our names become a pipeline to once-private information, such as home address, age, employment, taxes paid, political affiliations and campaign contributions.

    Where is this headed? For better or worse, we’re becoming one vast Neighborhood Watch. And the surveillance doesn’t stop at front doors, but follows us inside.

    We’re not just living with Big Brother — the National Security Agency? — peering over our electronic shoulders. We’re also a more tightly connected nation, with many fiercely committed busybodies. [...]

    Until recently, if we wanted to stay anonymous, photos were no real threat. But improving computer programs and a proliferation of surveillance cameras is changing that. Facial identification becomes easier as improved cameras create higher-quality images. And cameras are getting cheaper — and smaller.

    Facial recognition is already in some TVs. Passwords and PINs are giving way to faceprints in our mobile devices.

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