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A popular facial recognition search engine says ‘no’ to children

PimEyes takes measures to prevent the search for faces of underage individuals.

A popular facial recognition search engine says ‘no’ to children
Pedro Domínguez Rojas

Pedro Domínguez Rojas

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The advancement of AI has reached a point where it’s starting to get scary. Not only do we have artificial intelligences capable of writing almost anything automatically, but they can also create a wide variety of images from scratch or make your voice sound like that of a celebrity, among many other functions.

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But one of the most controversial features of AI is facial recognition, especially concerning our privacy. This week, The New York Times reports that PimEyes, a public search engine that uses facial recognition to match photos of people on the internet, has banned searches for minors for fear of endangering children.

However, even though the ban is already in effect, PimEyes’ detection system does not work perfectly in certain cases. The AI must first detect that the person’s face in the image belongs to a minor for someone to be unable to search for it online, which is not easy in photos taken at certain angles or with teenagers.

“Coincidentally,” this protection system was implemented just a week after Kashmir Hill, a writer for The New York Times, published an article titled “Can You Hide a Child’s Face From AI?” discussing the threat posed by artificial intelligence to children.

As detailed by Hill in her article, PimEyes had banned more than 200 accounts for “inappropriate searches” involving children. The situation had escalated to the point where a mother found pictures of her children she had never seen before using this service. However, to find out the source of the image, she had to pay the $29.99 monthly fee.

Will stricter measures be taken to ensure that no one can search for any image of a minor? And, more importantly, how can searches be restricted for minors around the ages of 16-17? Only time will tell.

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Pedro Domínguez Rojas

Pedro Domínguez Rojas

Publicist and audiovisual producer in love with social networks. I spend more time thinking about which videogames I will play than playing them.

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