Privacy group Big Brother Watch filed a legal complaint against Pimeyes, a face recognition search engine. The group warn people that Pimeyes is a threat to privacy of millions of UK residents owing to its malicious operation of mining biometric data of millions of individuals in the UK.
Pimeyes allows anyone on the internet to upload a photo of a person’s face and find matches by mapping that image across a database of faces collected shared on photo-sharing sites, in blog posts and news articles, and on websites. The tool also returns URLs that can lead the user to the source website where the image was originally posted.
Madeline Stone, legal and policy officer at Big Brother Watch says that by a stalker could find out a person’s “place of work, or indications of the area in which they live” by clicking on these links. “Images of anyone, including children, can be scoured and tracked across the internet,” she said, emphasizing on the dangerous implications of surveillance enabled by this tool.
Pimeyes informed BBC that the tool is not meant to be used for surveillance of others. The company argued that they are in talks with law enforcement of several countries including the UK in order to use Pimeyes to combat crimes against children, human trafficking, and terrorism.
This is not the only facial recognition “search engine” among us today. Clearview AI, an artificial intelligence firm, was fined 7.5 million by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). This came as a result of a legal complaint filed by Big Brother Watch. ICO said, “We are aware of this matter and we are assessing the information provided.