The facial recognition software that could identify your photo online

Detailed profiles of individuals could soon be built from a single photo posted online

We’re all guilty of it: posting photographs of ourselves on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. But you may want to re-think this kind of behaviour in future as a software company develops a programme that will identify people from images.

Face.com is currently working on revolutionary technology that can build detailed profiles of individuals by recognizing facial features on photographs found on social networking sites and online galleries.

It works by creating an algorithim of the face – the arrangement of features like the nose, eyes and mouth.

In the past, the company has limited the software’s availability over concerns about invasion of privacy.

However, Photo Finder has now been released to developers building applications, allowing people to search for anyone on the internet.

‘The technology is already being used by 5,000 developers,’ says Gil Hirsch, chief executive of Face.com. ‘You can basically search for people in any photo.

‘You could search for family members on Flickr, in newspapers, or in videos on YouTube – but it would take a lot of processing power.’

The move has angered critics, who insist this new development could lead to exploitation by employers.

Simon Davis, director of Privacy International, said: ‘I think this will make many people very uneasy.

‘The regulators have been hugely behind the curve of protecting people’s privacy on the internet. We need to push for much tighter international rules.’

How do you feel about the programme – exciting development or technology taken too far? Marie Claire wants to hear your thoughts by posting your opinion below.

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