Tech Firms Make Money Off Your Face

FACCTHEY?RE WATCHING YOU. Very closely. Tech companies are beginning to use facial recognition software to make your life easier?and to profit from who you are, how you feel, and what you want. ?Facial recognition will let firms do offline what the Internet made it possible for them to do online, which is to track individual behavior,? says Carnegie Mellon privacy researcher Alessandro Acquisti. Here?s how your face will give you away.

They know who you are.

Using artificial intelligence, companies can compare photos of you, noting facial features and patterns (like the distances between your nose, eyes, and ears) to create a model of your face. Facebook uses it to suggest whom you should tag in a photo; Google groups pics of you, even as a kid, in its new photo app; and Microsoft?s Xbox Kinect signs you in when it recognizes you. The tech may soon gain wider adoption for digital security too. Alibaba and Daon have demonstrated that your face could serve to verify your identity before, say, you make a purchase or access your bank account.

HOW COMPANIES PROFIT: For now, facial recognition for tagging or grouping photos (or as a password) is mostly a selling point to you, the consumer. For now.

WHO CAN DO IT: Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Apple, Alibaba, Daon, Suprema, RCG

They know where you are.

After creating a ?faceprint? from a photo of you, companies can then seek out that visage in their databases or in live videofeeds from cameras in stores, airports, or border checkpoints. Security firm Safran, for example, can search faces in video footage against watch lists or track where a person has been and when they went there.

HOW COMPANIES PROFIT: Software makers will supply law enforcement agencies, security firms, marketers, and app developers who want to locate you, confirm you are you, or watch your behavior.

WHO CAN DO IT: Safran, Cognitec, Imagus, FaceFirst, Progeny Systems?oh, and the FBI

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