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First Face Recognition App Allows for Profiling People by Snapping a Photo

CC BY 2.0 / Sheila Scarborough / Privacy groups have given up on fighting for facial recognition privacy, saying they’ve been overwhelmed by business interests.
Privacy groups have given up on fighting for facial recognition privacy, saying they’ve been overwhelmed by business interests. - Sputnik International
A first-of-its-kind augmented-reality app that allows a user to scan people’s faces and pull up their information has become available for download to mobile devices.

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An update to the Blippar app uses facial recognition technology to open a profile with all of that person’s information. It is being billed as the world's first facial-recognition app for mobile devices.

“Augmented Reality Face Profiles will change the way we communicate and express ourselves. Our face is our most expressive form of communication and with this release we are allowing this to become digital for the first time. Our facial recognition technology combined with our knowledge graph enables people to express themselves through the things they love, including their hobbies, opinions, key fun facts, and so much more. This is a new, unique and fun way of showing who you are and of learning more about others,” the company said in a statement.

While it sounds to some like a stalker’s dream come true, there are at least some safeguards in place. For example, users who are not celebrities must opt-in to become “blippable” and thus recognizable by the app. Those who opt to be part of Blippar’s database will reportedly be able to opt-out at any time. Whether the original user data will be archived by Blippar is not known.

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The app can also be used for television or photos, so that users can look up the profiles of celebrities.

"Over 70,000 public figures will be automatically discoverable with information drawn from publicly accessible sources unless they choose to set up their own AR Face profile, giving them control of the information communicated," Blippar stated.

Users can also deploy the facial recognition software to find celebrity dopplegangers.

"As well as discovering who your celebrity look alike is, there is also an option to build connections between yourself and the millions of objects, concepts and entities that exist in Blippar’s knowledge graph."

The app, which aims to build a visual catalog of every object in the world, will reportedly also be able to recognize objects and unlock “information, videos, games, music tracks, exclusive offers, shopping and much more,” according to the Apple Store listing for the app.

While the specific app allows users to opt out of the facial recognition feature, one cannot help but wonder how the intended use of the app’s technology will be hacked to violate privacy. The possibilities are endless.

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