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comment by kingmudsy

    Sure, that might lead to a dystopian future or something, but you can’t ban it.

I know the intention was, "You can't ban it, because to do so would prevent progress - something we all agree is important," but I...actually agree with the words, not the meaning.

It might lead to a dystopian future or something, but you can't ban it because no one in power wants it banned. Even if we did ban it, some other technology would develop to sate the desire to take people's privacy away from them. You can't ban it because it would prevent progress, something the people in power view as important in an economic system based on infinite growth. The right to privacy is a battle that will never be won. This dragon will never be slain, because the technology isn't the problem - it's the people demanding its existence, and their ever-increasing ingenuity when it comes to thwarting our rights.

mk  ·  680 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I disagree that we can’t ban it. We can ban it, and prosecute anyone that does it heavily.

If the people don’t want it, we can ban it. If politicians want it and we don’t, we vote them out. It’s a matter of the will of the people.

    The right to privacy is a battle that will never be won. This dragon will never be slain, because the technology isn't the problem - it's the people demanding its existence, and their ever-increasing ingenuity when it comes to thwarting our rights.

It can be slain. Political power lies in the people.

kleinbl00  ·  680 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I suspect that there's an economic angle whereby you could make this entire industry unprofitable.

Commercialization of someone's likeness requires written consent. In lieu of written consent, the agency capturing that likeness must post signage indicating that a public area is being filmed and that use of that public area implies consent to commercialize your likeness. This is the law as it has been for a hundred or more years; it is the underpinning of motion pictures and their commercialization.

You could certainly argue that law enforcement is not subject to the same economic pressures as motion pictures but you could more easily argue that a third-party vendor consolidating imagery for use by law enforcement is not law enforcement but a commercial enterprise. Further, the argument for the "this area is being filmed" notices is that it is difficult if not impossible to locate and gain consent from everyone in the frame; nonetheless, PAs are stationed around perimeters with clipboards to release up everyone whose face might be recognizable because lawsuits from those who walked past the signs but didn't sign a release are legend.

The very existence of this software nullifies the "they were too hard to track down" argument.

Existing case law could very well provide legal recourse. "I am in the database, you are profiting off of it, therefore you are profiting off my likeness without my permission." A good class-action lawsuit could force companies such as this to obtain written permission from every single person in the database and, as the surveillance company has no economic leverage they would have to offer compensation. The question then becomes "how many people will give up their privacy forever for a $5 Amazon gift card."

As to law enforcement, I believe any official use of your likeness for purposes of law enforcement has been through the courts before. I suspect this is an Uber-like case where the law is clear, they're just front-running it. A civil suit could probably force any police department to disclose their use of tools like this as well as the names and likenesses of all those who request it. $5 per user might not seem like a lot but if the whole point of your database is that it's exhaustive, getting 70% of the population of St. Cloud is gonna cost the St. Cloud PD $250k (plus whatever the company is selling their database for).

Striking this stuff down would basically make the entertainment industry unprofitable. They would no longer be able to protect their IP. There would likely be substantial representation from the media companies because this is the sort of precedent that could make their businesses extinct. They do not play.

kingmudsy  ·  680 days ago  ·  link  ·  

It's heartening to hear that, but my faith in the people's political power has been shaken. I'd love to see facial recognition tech be highly regulated, but I'm too paranoid to accept that the CIA / FBI / military would just put it back in the box because we told them to. Even if we did, would they not just find a more roundabout way of doing it?

I'd love to be wrong, though.

am_Unition  ·  680 days ago  ·  link  ·  

You're probably correct on his intent, thanks.

Disagree, though. I would be in favor of outright banning public use of the technology until we flesh out more thoughtful legislation. Sadly, I'm afraid that'll be quite awhile from now, because this is a country that juuuuuust finally decided to ban robocalls, and America largely hasn't mulled over facial recognition tech yet. We're too busy destroying each other to have a conversation, possibly setting the stage for Chinese Skynet (literally!) to swoop in and pull the rug out from under us. <--- Another super 2020 sentence.

Would there be a black market of facial recognition software? Yeah, 'specially because there probably already is, and once something's online, it's online forever. Rogue actors and small organizations would be using the tech for nefarious purposes, but it would be easily prosecutable, one thing we need to make sure is always possible. For now, a flat out public usage ban would prevent a lot of companies (and the gov't contracting them) from doing some rotten things.

"What about application of the software to photos taken in public places previous to the law's passage?", asks the reptilian, Zuckerburg, after Mickey Mouse whispers to him. Well, Mark and Mickey, we're glad you asked. Imagine the costs you could cut with this shit! Imagine the datasets! Now take those hopes and dreams, and shove them up your asses. Thanks guys, I hope that covers it.

We have enough creepy tech companies. I don't want "SPiED ya!" or whatever having a $50 trillion IPO, bankrolled by Peter Thiel II, will.i.am, and a beautiful Russian woman who insists her name is Not Putin. I don't want an iPhone 69Xfourtwenty with face unlock either, but it was somewhat heartening to see Tim Cook stand up to Bill Barr recently (sidenote: the FBI might be starting to stand up to Bill Barr too). It could be that Barr is actually most interested in accessing Apple's database of faces, for a new backdoor into potentially anything switching over to facial authentication.

wasoxygen I don't want law enforcement using this either. I believe that some amount of privacy is a civil liberty we should work to preserve via policy, even though I understand you probably disagree (edit: you probably expect that the free market will somehow produce privacy, as a commodity? I'm not sure it even could, but I'm against that, on principle. I'm afraid that privacy requires law, and law requires government). License plate scanners, ehhh, I'm a little iffy on, because it's almost like keeping tabs on a deadly weapon (your car), but I'd say I'm still overall against them. But there are civilians driving around with license plate scanners, and then selling the data to police departments for cash. Nah, man. Not OK.

kingmudsy  ·  680 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Nothing to add as this is a really solid comment, but you're kidding yourself if you think the startup is going to be called anything except iSpy ;)