NameTag: Facial Recognition App Criticized as Creepy and Invasive by Lauren O'Neil
If all goes well for the developers of a new facial recognition app, getting detailed personal information about a stranger in your midst could one day be as easy as glancing in their direction.
Released in beta for Google Glass last month, "NameTag" works by scanning the face of a person captured in Glass' video feed against photos from dating sites and social media networks to determine who they are - everything from their name and occupation, to their latest post on Instagram.
The app's creator, FacialNetwork.com, says it uses "some of the most accurate facial recognition software in the world" to compare millions of public records, returning a stranger's name, additional photos, and links to their public social media profiles within seconds.
"No longer will social media be limited to the screens of desktops, tablets and smartphones," reads a press release issued by the company. "With the NameTag app running on Google Glass a user can simply glance at someone nearby and instantly see that person's name, occupation and even visit their Facebook, Instagram or Twitter profiles in real-time."
While currently only available to Google Glass beta testers, FacialNetwork.com hopes to bring the app to smartphones in the future. This would allow users to snap photos of people around them, upload said photos to the app, and scan for personal information on the spot.
The company also claims its technology can let users scan more than 450,000 entries in the U.S. National Sex Offender Registry, potentially identifying another person's criminal background upon site.
"It's much easier to meet interesting new people when we can simply look at someone, see their Facebook, review their LinkedIn page or maybe even see their dating site profile," said NameTag's creator Kevin Alan Tussy. "Often we were interacting with people blindly or not interacting at all. NameTag on Google Glass can change all that."
Change things it could, but not if privacy advocates have their way.
Despite the company's claim that anyone can opt out of its database, many are discomforted by the idea that such a tool may exist in the first place.
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