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TECHNOLOGY REPORT - Living in a World With Facial Recognition

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A young couple shares a computer to browse Facebook at an Internet cafe in Jakarta, Indonesia
A young couple shares a computer to browse Facebook at an Internet cafe in Jakarta, Indonesia

This is the VOA Special English Technology Report.

A new study looks at privacy in a world where computers can increasingly recognize faces in a crowd or online. Alessandro Acquisti at Carnegie Mellon University's Heinz College in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, led the study.

Professor Acquisti says social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn represent some of the world's largest databases of identities. He sees increasing threats to privacy in facial recognition software and cloud computing -- the ability to store huge amounts of information in data centers.

ALESSANDRO ACQUISTI: "The convergence of all these technologies -- face recognition, social networks, cloud computing -- and all these advances in statistical re-identification techniques and data mining are creating this world where you can blend together online and offline data. You can start from an anonymous face and end up with sensitive inferences about that person."

Recognition systems measure things like the size and position of a nose, the distance between the eyes and the shape of cheekbones. The software compares lots of images to try to identify the person. This is what the professor means by "statistical re-identification techniques."

Facial recognition programs are used in police and security operations. But the software is increasingly popular in other uses, including social media sites.

For the study, the Carnegie Mellon team used software from Pittsburg Pattern Recognition, or PittPat. Google bought that company last month. The software can recognize faces in photos and videos.

The researchers did three experiments. First, they collected profile photos from a dating website. Its users try to protect their privacy by not listing their real name. But comparing their photos to pictures on Facebook identified one out of ten people.

In the second experiment, the Carnegie Mellon researchers asked permission to take pictures of students on campus. They compared these to photos on Facebook. This time they correctly identified one-third of the students.

In the third experiment, they tried to see how much they could learn about people just from a photo. They found not only names but birthdates, personal interests and even locations, when people listed them. And Professor Acquisti says the technology is only improving.

ALESSANDRO ACQUISTI: "Because face recognizers keep improving accuracy, because cloud computing keeps offering more power, and because more and more images of ourselves are going to be online, we are getting really close to this future where what we did as a proof of concept will be possible to do by anyone on a massive scale."

In June, Facebook launched a facial recognition system to help users "tag" or list the names of people in photos. Germany last month became the first country to declare this software an illegal violation of privacy.

And that's the VOA Special English Technology Report, written by June Simms. Share your thoughts about privacy and technology at www.unsv.com. I'm Steve Ember.

网友的学习评论(13条):
作者:wonderful
i am sofa,haha.almost four hundred reader have study this text,but nobody gave comment.i want to know why.we can say anything about it.i think the facial recognition system has a good prospect.google has heavy money and buy anything it wants.i like google which gives us new experience and technology.nobody can stop it.world is a big home.we need each other.
作者:fanfan
楼上说的很对,但是,我觉得,有的订阅还需要付钱,这就有点·····
作者:steven
额、
作者:冰光之星
Yes, I agree with fanfan
作者:lvjiaying1984
The privacy brought about by the widespread use of facial recognition really should be considered. Think about the possibilities. After you have uploaded a picture and some usual information about yourself which you don't want others to know, the use of the facial recognition can work out some of your most useful information, such as your name, your birthdate, and some your private information. But despite some of the shortcomings of the facial recognition, the facial recognition has
作者:lvjiaying1984
tremendous help for people working as policemen and some other security officers. When a person does harm in an area of the territory, the video can identify what the image of the person is and with the help of the facial recognition, the police using this kind of technology can promptly work out where the person is, what his birthdate is and whether he has ever committed wrong behaviors. It can help the police a lot, because using this way, the position of the person who has done something
作者:lvjiaying1984
wrong can be located.And with the help of the Internet,the police in the whole nation can work as a group to detect the person who has done something wrong. The technology has taken us too far. The use of the computers has brought about a revolution in every aspect of the social life. We could never imagine that in a bank we could use the computers to calculate the sum of the money of the interest which one saved in another bank. In the old days, the checks were written manually and
作者:lvjiaying1984
without one hundred percent accurate,the mistakes probably occurring in the calculating of the interest or the counting of the cash. And besides this, in the old days when we wrote checks manually, it was easy to create a false check, giving the potential danger of losing a lot of money from the bank where the false check was used. Nowadays, nearly every corner of the social society is using computers, from supermarkets to banks, to nearly every aspect of our social life.
作者:lvjiaying1984
And perhaps human beings can create computersas smart as human beings, helping us in a variety of professions, taking over the tireless work which was done by human beings before computers as smart as human beings are created. But some people think that human beings fear that by programming intelligence into machines, humans can probably create intelligent machines smarter than human beings. Experts said the computers will also be in control of human beings.
作者:lvjiaying1984
So let's take advantage of the technology that is sure to be happening in the decade ahead.
作者:freed
So lvjiaying1984 was commenter ?
作者:yuanqiou098
Well,with photograph on the computer,I really don't care.But the security with the photograph makes me feel fresh.I really don't think computers can have such things to do.Well,they are good machines.And they ought to do with it.
作者:Jane
It is can"t denied that this kind of technology produce great influence in some fields.For example,facial recognition enhance work efficiency considerablely for those who work in security department.with facial recognition police can more quick and easy find out where the prisoner located.And,facial recognition also brought us lots of pastime items online.people use this system either can seek out one they want to know,or look for an old friend they have lose contact for several years.
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