Your social media photos could be training facial recognition AI without your consent

If your face has ever appeared in a photo on Flickr, it could be currently training facial recognition technology without your permission.

As per a report by NBC News, IBM has been using around one million images from the image-hosting platform to train its facial recognition AI, without the permission of the people in the photos.

In January, IBM revealed its new “Diversity in Faces” dataset with the goal to make facial recognition systems fairer and better at identifying a diverse range of faces — AI algorithms have had difficulty in the past recognising women and people of colour.

Considering the potential uses of facial recognition technology, whether it be for hardcore surveillance, finding missing persons, detecting celebrity stalkers, social media image tagging, or unlocking your phone or house, many people might not want their face used for this type of AI training — particularly if it involves pinpointing people by gender or race.

IBM’s dataset drew upon a huge collection of around 100 million Creative Commons-licensed images, referred to as the YFCC-100M dataset and released by Flickr’s former owner, Yahoo, for research purposes — there are many CC image databases used for academic research into facial recognition, or fun comparison projects.

IBM used approximately one million of these images for their own “training dataset.” According to NBC, which was able to view the collection, these have all been annotated according to various estimates like age and gender, as well as physical details — skin tone, size and shape of facial features, and pose.

But while IBM was using perfectly fine Creative Commons images, the company hadn’t actually informed those whose faces appear in the almost one million images what their actual faces, not just images, were being used for.

Sure, the image subjects may have given permission for a photo of themselves to be uploaded to Flickr and listed under a CC license, but those subjects weren’t given a chance to give consent for their faces to be used to train AI facial recognition systems.

NBC talked to several people whose images had appeared in IBM’s dataset, including a PR executive who has hundreds of images sitting in the collection.

“None of the people I photographed had any idea their images were being used in this way,” Greg Peverill-Conti told the news outlet. “It seems a little sketchy that IBM can use these pictures without saying anything to anybody.”

Flickr co-founder Caterina Fake also revealed IBM was using 14 of her photos.

“IBM says people can opt out, but is making it impossible to do so,” she tweeted.

Want to opt out? It’s not that easy, although IBM confirmed to NBC that anyone who would like their image removed from the dataset is able to request it by emailing a link to the company.

The only problem? The dataset isn’t publicly available, only to researchers, so Flickr users and those featured in their images have no way of really knowing if they’re included. 

Luckily, NBC created a handy little tool if you want to check whether you’re included, you just have to drop in your username.

Mashable has reached out to IBM for comment.

Uploads%252fvideo uploaders%252fdistribution thumb%252fimage%252f90459%252f7ee002cc 8b10 4615 8978 419d40043d30.jpg%252foriginal.jpg?signature=2z cu3b6pkxwixg1wcuuz4klif8=&source=https%3a%2f%2fblueprint api production.s3.amazonaws

Source

more recommended stories

  • Vizio D-Series TVs are on sale for up to $250 off at Walmart

    Just to let you know, if.

  • Fitbit fitness trackers are on sale for up to 62% off

    Just to let you know, if.

  • Instagram can’t stop flood of grisly photos from Bianca Devins’ murder

    Instagram users are stepping up to.

  • SanDisk microSDXC card for Nintendo Switch for under £18

    Just to let you know, if.

  • New York City blackouts always bring the wildest photos

    It’s rare to catch New York.

  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez ‏joins chorus of facial recognition critics

    Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez knows what’s coming down.

  • Netflix’s ‘Point Blank’ fails Frank Grillo and Anthony Mackie: Review

    The following is a spoiler-free review.

  • Super Mario Party, Breville Espresso Maker, Beats Solo3, and more deals for July 12

    For all you Nintendo Switch owners,.

  • ‘The Lion King’ is a dutiful recreation of a beloved classic: Review

    There’s nothing really wrong with the.

  • ‘Stranger Things’ Monopoly game available for pre-order

    Just to let you know, if.

  • Lyft self-driving cars offer tactile maps, diagrams for blind riders

    Aptiv’s self-driving cars on the Lyft.

  • PS4 games, Sony speakers, Philips juicers, Logitech headsets, Kenwood stand mixers, and more on sale for July 9 in the UK

    Here’s some good news for anyone.

  • Watch Gordon Ramsay teach Lil Nas X how to make a panini

    Lil Nas X is a bonafide.

  • Vets treat ‘exotic’ bird, realize it’s just a seagull covered in curry

    An orange bird saved by passersby.

  • Why that devastating finale is a fake out

    This post contains spoilers for Season.

  • 10 deals on cool gadgets that’ll help you stay organized

    Just to let you know, if.

  • Genius creates a ‘Simpsons’- inspired steamed hams level using ‘Mario Maker 2’

    Proving there is no end to.

  • Apple works to resolve iCloud issues after outages reported

    Reports of iCloud outages made the.

  • Hey drivers, use this to discover how much Uber and Lyft take from you

    Uber and Lyft keep changing how.

  • The hard truth about California’s massive tree die-offs

    The number, so far, is over.

  • This Frigidaire retro mini fridge is on sale for $119 at Walmart

    Just to let you know, if.

  • iPhone game helps heart surgeons save lives

    Sam Glassenberg is no doctor, but.

  • Revolut launches new, effortless way to donate to charities

    Revolut is a UK-based financial services company.

  • This Amazon Web Services online course could help you kick off a new career

    Just to let you know, if.

  • Stormzy’s Glastonbury Festival set featured a badass BSL interpreter

    The U.K. grime star Stormzy staged.

  • Second U.S. city passes ban on facial recognition tech

    Image: Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images Michael Kan.

  • Marianne Williamson’s oddball debate answers have made her into a meme

    If you found yourself thinking, “Who.

  • World cup soccer player Jessica McDonald being reunited with her son is super heartwarming

    If you haven’t cried yet today,.

  • JBL Pulse 3 waterproof speaker is on sale for $50 off at Walmart

    Just to let you know, if.

  • Gritty surprises kid with custom Gritty prosthetic leg

    Gritty is so many things, but.

  • Microsoft’s foldable Surface could support Android apps

    ““““`Microsoft’s next Surface could be unlike.

  • Elon Musk’s tweet about Mars is confusing the internet

    A few weeks ago, U.S. president.