Security advisors are already sounding the alarm over a mobile phone application that has not even been released yet. Still just a prototype, named Recognizr (by The Astonishing Tribe), the app is designed to search and provide personal information by utilizing facial recognition software.
According to preliminary information, the application should function as follows: (1) point your camera phone at your subject, take a pic; and (2) click “Recognize” button; (3) software analyzes the photo and retrieves information regarding your subject from social sites such as Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter, as well as phone number, email and address information.
Is this something which should strike fear into our hearts?
Probably not. At least, not for a while. First, let’s assume someone uses this app to take your pic. For facial recognition software to do an adequate job analyzing your photo, the photo would have to almost be posed for — head on, clear and focused, etc. Second, the software would have to be damn good at recognition — and, so far, there is no facial recognition software that good!
Like most Mac users, I have iPhoto. It has facial recognition technology. It has been thoroughly trained to pic out my hot girlfriend’s face from out of the thousand or so photos in my library. It still occasionally gets my girlfriend confused with pics of my pet dog. So, I’m just saying… if an advanced desktop program, with millions invested into it, can’t tell my girlfriend from my dog, what are the chances that an iPhone app can do any better?
So, sure… the prospect of an app that does what this one promises is frightening. If it worked. However, here’s my prediction: it won’t work. So, don’t worry.