Face Recognition Software, Social Media Sites Increase Privacy Risks, Says Carnegie Mellon Study-Faculty & Staff News - Carnegie Mellon University

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Face Recognition Software, Social Media Sites Increase Privacy Risks, Says Carnegie Mellon Study

It is possible to identify strangers and gain their personal information — perhaps even their social security numbers — by using face recognition software and social media profiles, according to a new study by Carnegie Mellon's Alessandro Acquisti and his research team. The results of the study is being presented today (Aug. 4) at Black Hat, a security conference in Las Vegas.

"A person's face is the veritable link between her offline and online identities," said Acquisti, associate professor of information technology and public policy at the Heinz College and a Carnegie Mellon CyLab researcher. "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."

Acquisti said his research team, which included CMU postdoctoral fellows Ralph Gross and Fred Stutzman, combined three technologies — an off-the-shelf face recognizer, cloud computing and publicly available information from social network sites — to identify individuals online and offline in the physical world. Since these technologies are also accessible by end-users, the results foreshadow a future when we all may be recognizable on the street — not just by friends or government agencies using sophisticated devices, but by anyone with a smartphone and Internet connection.

For more: http://www.cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2011/august/aug1_privacyrisks.html