FindFace is a new facial recognition app that could end public privacy

Facial recognition can be a wonderful feature for platforms and devices: You can unlock your computer with it, automatically sort photos by who’s in them, and even swap your face with your dog in Snapchat. But what happens when facial recognition is so good that it almost completely eliminates the potential of anonymity in public?

That’s exactly the question being asked about FindFace, a new facial recognition app that uses profile photos of Russia’s leading social network to find the identity of anyone in a photo with a ridiculous 70-percent success rate.

The key to the whole operation is the use of Russia’s Vkontakte social network in collaboration with a proprietary search algorithm developed by FindFace’s twenty-something co-founders, Alexander Kabakov and Artem Kukharenko.

Using profile photos of Vkontakte’s 200 million users, FindFace’s algorithm is able to search through a database of over one billion photographs in mere seconds, using only four standard servers. What users are given as a result is the closest match FindFace could detect and the ten closest matches after that. Strangely, in its video demo and marketing images, FindFace seems to focus only on women, which makes the app look like it could be used for nefarious purposes.

FindFace

While the app is impressive in its own right, the app is nothing more than a teaser for what the FindFace backend is truly capable of achieving.

Already, the startup has been approached by the local Moscow government to work alongside the city’s 150,000 CCTV cameras to help identify criminals on-the-fly. Mugshots and other visuals would be imported into the database and using the FindFace’s algorithm, police would be able to track down a criminal in mere seconds using pinpoint accuracy.

In addition to government use, FindFace seems very interested in getting into retail and marketing.

“Kabakov imagines a world where cameras fix you looking at, say, a stereo in a shop, the retailer finds your identity, and then targets you with marketing for stereos in the subsequent days,” The Guardian reported.

It’s the epitome of targeted marketing, and so long as companies are willing to pay, Kabakov and Kukharenko seem ready to bite.

“In today’s world we are surrounded by gadgets,” Kabakov told The Guardian. “Our phones, televisions, fridges, everything around us is sending real-time information about us. Already we have full data on people’s movements, their interests and so on. A person should understand that in the modern world he is under the spotlight of technology. You just have to live with that.”

If you’re wondering when FindFace would aim for the much larger target of using Facebook and its 1.65 billion users as a database, don’t count on it being anytime soon, if ever.

According to FindFace’s founders, Facebook is far stricter on its privacy policies. This means the FindFace algorithm can’t access multiple profile images like it can with the less secure Vkontakte.

If you’re good with Russian, have a Vkontakte profile, and want to take the FindFace for a spin, you can download it in both the iOS App Store and Google Play Store.

Download for iOS

Download for Android

Photography

GoPro bumps resolution on Fusion 360 cam to 5.6K with new firmware

Currently available in public beta, Fusion firmware version 2.0 offers a new 5.8K mode that results in 5.6K output when the 360 camera's two hemispheres are stitched together. It also adds support for 24 fps video and RAW time-lapse…
Mobile

2019's 10 best dating apps to help you find the perfect companion

Everyone knows online dating can be stressful, time-consuming, and downright awful. Check out our top picks for the best dating apps, so you can streamline the process and find the right date, whatever you're looking for.
Mobile

Text up a storm with the best messaging apps for iOS and Android

These days, most people tend to favor digital messages over phone calls. We have the best messaging apps that allow you to share photos and documents, send text messages, and more with end-to-end encryption.
Mobile

Turn to these apps to help you in your next hunt for a job

Looking for a job can be a stressful experience, but these days, a simple mobile app can help you to find and apply for jobs all over the country -- here are some of the best job search apps for iOS and Android.
Mobile

Unleash your inner artist with the best drawing apps for the iPad Pro

The best drawing apps for the iPad Pro turn Apple's robust tablet into a canvas worthy of a true artist. Here are 20 of our current favorites, whether you're looking to keep things simple or take your art to the next level.
Photography

These point-and-shoot cameras make your smartphone pics look like cave paintings

If your smartphone camera just isn't giving you the results you're looking for, maybe it's time to step up your game. The latest and greatest point-and-shoot cameras offer large sensors, tough bodies, and long lenses -- something no phone…
Photography

With 5-stop optical stabilization, Fujifilm GF 100-200mm is ready for adventure

Fujifilm revealed a new lens designed to deliver on the GFX system's promise of adventure-ready medium-format photography. The GF 100-200mm F5.6 R is a weather resistant, relatively lightweight, 2x telephoto with impressive stabilization.
Photography

Olympus teaser shares glimpse of OM-D camera that’s good for more than sports

Is Olympus about to release a new mirrorless camera geared toward sports photographers? The latest teaser offers a glimpse of an upcoming OM-D camera set to launch on January 24, and by the looks of the teasers, it's capable for landscapes…
Photography

Nikon A1000, B600 pack big zooms into compact, budget-friendly cameras

The new Nikon Coolpix A1000 packs in a 35x zoom lens, 4K video, and an optical viewfinder, while Nikon's B600 brings a 60x zoom lens to the table. The cameras are modest updates to Nikon's budget-friendly zoom models.
Social Media

Nearly a million Facebook users followed these fake Russian accounts

Facebook purged two separate groups behind more than 500 fake accounts with Russian ties. One group had ties to Russian news agency Sputnik, while the other had behavior similar to the Internet Research Agency's midterm actions.
Photography

From DIY to AAA, here's how to take a passport photo in 6 different ways

If you're applying for a passport or renewing one, you need to submit a photo in your official application. There are strict guidelines, but fortunately, it's something you can do at home. Here's how to take a passport photo.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world will take your breath away

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Photography

Photography news: Careful, self-driving cars can ruin your camera sensor

In this week's photography news, learn how self-driving cars destroyed a digital camera via lasers. Find out how many patents Canon filed for in 2018. Read about what Tamron lenses are available for the Nikon Z6.
Photography

Here are 8 GoPro tips to get the most out of your action cam

There's more to your GoPro camera than just mounting it to your skateboard. Whether it's finding the best accessories or understanding the settings more thoroughly, learn to shoot video like a pro with these simple GoPro tips and tricks.