Thursday, April 10, 2014

Adam Tanner: Scan Your Date's Photo, Learn If He Is A Sex Offender

Good Lord is this really the world we live in today?  

Assuming everyone is a bad person, out to harm you, dangerous, a criminal or a "Sex Offender" and you must know on the spot who they are and if they've done anything illegal before you approach them or allow them to approach you is not just sad but pathetic. 

Even worse most people believe they have "the right to know" everything about everybody else. They don't! 

Scan Your Date's Photo, Learn If He Is A Sex Offender 
By Adam Tanner, April 10, 2014

A few years ago I attended an annual conference of Balkan political leaders. Middle-aged men filled the room. In the back a younger woman who could certainly have adorned the cover of a fashion magazine stood out in stark contrast. 

I wondered: who could she be? Those sitting beside me had no idea. I wondered if one day technology could identify any stranger at a moment’s notice. On that day, only by happenstance did I later learn her identify.

Soon, facial recognition programs may help instantly inform us who’s who. Some new services are offering the first steps toward that reality, capabilities that have already stirred up controversy. 

Today a new service called  allows users to enter photos to check against a database of 475,000 registered sex offenders. “Potential Dates, Babysitters, Roommates, Renters, Coaches, Teachers… Scan them all with CreepFace,” advertises the site, part of
The site is free and aims to make money by convincing dating sites or others with many user photos to partner with them.

Others are embracing similar technology. Last month, Arizona-based entrepreneur James Richmond introduced the JailBase iPhone app allowing users to take someone’s photo and compare it with a database of several million mug shots (there is an Android version as well). “Jailbase is the easiest and quickest way to find out if anyone you know has been arrested,” the company advertises. 

Richmond says he started the site, which makes most of its money from advertising, after a relative was arrested. “JailBase was started in the beginning because I had a need to find arrest information and it just wasn’t out there,” he says. “I feel that Jailbase is providing a service, being able to search for this information, and not only that, but also adding notifications.” 

He is a little wary about giving too much information about himself or having his photo published here because of the criticism often aimed at sites using mug shots. He says JailBase is different from competitors because of the photo recognition technology and the fact that it has never taken money to opt out people. 

The promise of facial recognition technology excites some and worries others over privacy issues. In February Sen. Al Franken, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law, responded with concern about reports that a service called NameTag would enable Google Glass users to gain personal information about other people. 

“Unlike other biometric identifiers such as iris scans and fingerprints, facial recognition is designed to operate at a distance, without the knowledge or consent of the person being identified,” Franken wrote. “Individuals cannot reasonably prevent themselves from being identified by cameras that could be anywhere—on a lamppost across the street, attached to an unmanned aerial vehicle, or, now, integrated into the eyewear of a stranger.”