Face recognition technology can be used to gain access
to a person's private data,
according to a new study.Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University combined
image scanning, cloud computing and public profiles from social network
sites to identify individuals in the offline world.
Data captured even included a user's social security
number. Experts have warned of the privacy risks faced by the
increased merging of our online and offline identities.
The Carnegie Mellon team combined off-the-shelf face
recognition technology with publicly-accessible Facebook profiles to
identify individual students walking on campus. In another experiment, researchers were able to
extract the social security number of a student starting only with their
"When we share tagged photos of ourselves online, it
becomes possible for others to link our face to our names in situations
where we would normally expect anonymity," said team leader Professor
The researchers have also developed an 'augmented
reality' mobile app that can display personal data over a person's image
captured on a smartphone screen.Since these technologies are widely available, our
future identities may become exposed to anyone with a smartphone and an
Internet connection. Researchers believe this could force us to
reconsider our future attitudes to privacy.
"The seamless merging of online and offline data that
face recognition and social media make possible raises the issue of what
privacy will mean in an augmented reality world," Said Professor
Acquisti.The results of the research will be presented at the
Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas this week.