The surprising things algorithms can glean about you from photos

This is an article I’ll be sharing with all my friends, because it’s important for us to understand the consequences one single photo can have.

Even if you do not tag the people in an image, photo recognition systems can do so. Facebook’s DeepFace algorithm can match a face to one that has appeared in previously uploaded images, including photos taken in dramatically different lighting and from dramatically different points of view. Using identified profile photos and tagged photos and social-graph relationships, a very probable name can be attached to the face. (…)

A person pounding the pavement of a city street can be identified and tracked block-to-block by the unique characteristics of her gait. (…)

Taking a photo or video in public isn’t illegal, nor is taking one with a person’s permission. It’s also not illegal to upload the file or store it in the cloud. Applying optical character recognition, facial recognition, or a super-resolution algorithm isn’t illegal, either. There’s simply no place for us to hide anymore. [continue]

That’s from Andreas Weigend’s article, The Surprising Things Algorithms Can Glean About You From Photos, published on Slate. I think you’ll want to read the whole thing.

A note at the bottom of the Slate article says, in part, “Andreas Weigend is the author of Data for the People: How to Make Our Post-Privacy Economy Work for You.” I am grateful for this Slate article – it has super information and will be a handy thing for me to send to friends and post on a certain bulletin board. So I’ve just bought Andreas’ book, as a way to thank him.

Oh, and about laws regarding the taking of photos: we had a house guest from the Netherlands a while ago. He said it’s illegal in the Netherlands to take photos of people without their permission. Really? That’s a great idea. I wish we had a similar law here.

Are any of you saying no when others want to photograph you?

Intertidal connections

At the beach we see marvels: zillions of starfish, peculiar sea creatures, otters, sea lions, and herons. Eagles land near us on the rocks, tiny silver fishies squirm out of the sand, and seagulls come for lunch. I keep meaning to take some photos to share here, but I’m not that organized yet.

No matter! Today I found Norman Rich’s Intertidal Connections, and this is just perfect. His photos are of things I want to show you, and they’re stunning shots. He writes:

This series of photos was made while exploring secret bays and shoreline sanctuaries along several hundred miles of wild and natural B.C. coastline from a dinghy, and an old 30 foot steel sailboat. Intertidal connections is a gallery featuring expressive light, and color from the northwest coast shoreline. Here I found an interconnected abundance, and considerable beauty in the nature of things expressing themselves. In these coastal realms, timeless themes of flow and forming, tides and life cycles are ever present.

Norman has many other photo galleries, and they’re all worth exploring. Oh, and don’t you think this is the best eagle photo ever?