Human Flesh Search Engines

Photo: Sylenius (CC)

Photo: Sylenius (CC)

Scott Smith writes at Current Intelligence:

Identifying alleged troublemakers is no longer just the job of the faceless men and women in dark operations rooms. The riots also made facial recognition more of a peer-to-peer activity, with online groups formed to weed through thousands of images to put names to allegedly offending faces. Members of one group even discussed collaboratively tapping an existing online service to facilitate use of Facebook photos to find rioters. This so-called crowdsourcing of facial recognition wasn’t new to the riots or the UK. Chinese citizens, for example, have taken it upon themselves to use the Internet, through China’s eerily named “Human Flesh Search Engine,” to highlight, locate, shame and even intimidate those deemed to have offended civic sensibilities. For Canadians upset at hockey riots, social groups have taken identification and occasionally retribution into their own hands. But with the riots happening in and among such a well-wired and social media-connected milieu, it wasn’t just the government that was interested in harnessing social transparency to law enforcement ends.

Like many other technologies, high-powered facial recognition has trickled down to the average person’s fingertips in recent years…

Read more here.

3 Comments on "Human Flesh Search Engines"

  1. this would pose a dilemma to facebook, either continue their policy against the people or people will get it that positing private info on social networking site is bad regardless of privacy settings

  2. lol If they can make face recognition work like that in China, it must be a cinch to do here.

  3. this is anarchy! and with the internet, we might just be able to pull it off

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