The PimEyes face search engine is alarmingly accurate and precise, capable of selecting faces from the crowd
A new report by the New York Times takes subscription-based face search engine PimEyes for a test and comes back with privacy-worrying results. A test carried out on a number of journalists from the newspaper unearthed a surprisingly accurate collection of results, including images from decades ago, images in which the subject’s face was obscured and even images in which they were standing. in the midst of a blurry crowd.
PimEyes claims neutrality and is only a “tools provider”, but the company’s business model raises questions. It offers “premium subscriptions” that range in price from $90 to $300 per month, which allows you to request that particular photos be excluded from search results made available to all other users of the platform.
‘Scary’ face search engine instantly unearths photo histories
Face search engines crawling the internet aren’t a new concept, but this apparent level of accuracy (backed by an advanced AI algorithm) hasn’t been made available to the general public before. The obvious comparison to PimEyes is the much-hyped (and much maligned) Clearview AI, but that company at least restricts its access to law enforcement. The only barrier to accessing PimEyes is a $29.99 per month subscription.
NYT reporters tested the face search engine on themselves and found images on the internet from as far back as 10 years ago, including those in which the face was partially obscured. Masks, sunglasses, and even partially turning away from the camera don’t seem like a reliable way to hide from PimEyes. Other photos have chosen individuals from groups of people at concerts, at airports and at weddings.
A woman who suffered from PimEyes locating her old explicit photos spoke publicly to CNN about the kind of damage the face search engine is capable of doing. Dear Scarlett, a software engineer, had done an explicit photo shoot in 2005 under a different name that she thought was buried and forgotten. However, PimEyes matched him with old photos from one of the (apparently numerous) porn sites he tracks. She hadn’t believed before that websites still displayed the images.
Face Search Engine Court Rules
Gobronidze says the face search engine blocks abusive users, such as those who perform an “excessive” number of searches (he cited 1,000 searches per day as an example). He also said the site is not taking customers from Russia due to the invasion of Ukraine. But the site is already under some legal scrutiny, with Germany’s data protection regulator launching an investigation a year ago into potential abuses of the General Data Protection Regulation (PimEyes was put on hold). online for the first time in 2017).
The controversial face search engine is likely to prove difficult to regulate given that it is based in Gobronidze’s native Georgia, structured as a branch of a Dubai-registered company. While there may be few legal mechanisms to coerce the company’s hand in the short term, John Gunn (CEO of Token) believes that the company will need to adopt some kind of identification system for customers and better filtering processes, otherwise it could find itself banned from one country after another (as Clearview AI has been): ” It is completely hypocritical for PIM Eyes to claim that they do their best to limit searches to only the person requesting the search, they could simply ask users to submit their driver’s license, passport or other ID. photo ID, verify it with a digital ID insurance provider such as Mitek or Jumio, and then use their own technology to narrow the search If banks can lend thousands of dollars on a single coin PIM Eyes can easily adopt this low-cost technology as well, and their current approach calls for government intervention and regulation.