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“Terrifying potential”: Claims of a face-ID system for porn actresses spark privacy fears

“Terrifying potential”: Claims of a face-ID system for porn actresses spark privacy fears
[Photo: Maxwell Ridgeway/Unsplash]

A Germany-based user of the Chinese social network Weibo claims to be using facial recognition to match porn performers to profile pictures taken from social media, Motherboard reports.

The programmer in question says he’s identified more than 100,000 women through the system, though he has yet to share proof of his success. His stated goal: to help people determine if their significant others have secretly acted in porn.

While the posting could be a hoax, the claim is theoretically feasible with existing face-recognition technology–although such a system would undoubtedly produce many false positives. Social networks and image search engines already routinely identify people in photos, and authorities have used facial recognition technology to search for subjects in crowds.

The reports naturally drew warnings from privacy advocates and others who say such a tool could lead to harassment and threats against current and former porn performers, including those who performed under pseudonyms.

Facial recognition has proven controversial recently, with San Francisco banning police and other officials from using the technology. Members of Congress from both major parties are urging regulation of the technology, which has proven fallible in many implementations, and less accurate at identifying people of color.

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