Privacy in a face detection world

2018-11-27 2 min read

    In a bit of dystopian news a CEO was charged for jaywalking when a face detection algorithm saw her face on a bus ad. While simultaneously amusing and dystopian it does make one think of a world in which everyone is constantly monitored. At some level we’re already in this world digitally - our browsing behavior is constantly tracked and we all have ad behavior profiles that are constantly being tweaked and updated. Some get around this by using adblocking while a small fraction take the opposite approach and have their browser search and navigate to random pages in order to clutter and confuse their digital footprints.

    The real life equivalent of the adblocking approach would be wearing a disguise in public while the equivalent of the confusion approach would be to get your likeness into as many place as possible and overwhelm the face detection system. The difference is that in the real world you’re out in public rather than browsing the web in private. It does make me wonder whether we’ll end up in a world where people stratify themselves into those that value their privacy enough to wear masks while others subscribe to the “I’m not doing anything wrong so what do I have to hide” approach. Given my posts you can probably tell which camp I fall into.