Sunday, 7 March 2010

I don't know your name, but I Recognizr your face...

Last Monday, the Sun had an article about a newly-demonstrated mobile phone app called "Recognizr" [link goes to the demo videos of the developers' website].

The idea is that people can use any compatible mobile to take a photo in an attempt to name them. It falls under the term "Augmented reality" and has been labelled "Augmented Identity".

As well as using boiler-plate Sun-speak like "perverts" and "horrified" it labels it a "stalker's dream"*.

It also quotes Privacy International who are against it. However, they are so concerned about it there are a total of 0 mentions on their website in relation to the app [unfortunately their website does not appear to let you link directly to search terms]. This leads to me to wonder what information their spokesperson had to hand when the Sun contacted them as well as the other people who are quoted.

What the Sun doesn't point out is that a not only is it only a prototype, and so will not be available for quite a while yet, but that a person's information can only be accessed if they are actually registered with Recognizr. There are also apparently different settings as to how much information a person can provide to others.

There's also the fact that it claims that the company behind it were unavailable for comment. However, one of the members left a comment on the article, stating the following:
Recognizr facial recognition cannot work for someone who isn't approved to receive the information, just like the privacy settings on FaceBook or LinkedIn. I agree with the posts here about privacy. [The developers] were very sensitive to offering certain safeguards with the tool to prevent privacy misuse. People have to opt-in to Recognizr, and have the choice of what information will be displayed, what social networks will be connected or not, and decide on their own profile groups.
Leaving aside the apparently completely-over-the-top tone of the article, how likely is it that the Swedish creators would go the the trouble of hunting down an article in a foreign newspaper to respond to its claims, instead of just giving a quote while the article was being written?
* Presumably, the antics of tabloid newspapers don't count...

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