AfterDawn: Tech news

NSA collecting millions of faces from Internet photos

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 02 Jun 2014 8:51 User comments (16)

NSA collecting millions of faces from Internet photos According to reports, the National Security Agency (NSA) in the United States has grabbed millions of photos from the Internet for use in facial recognition systems.
The report in the New York Times was based on documents leaked by Edward Snowden, who is nearing a year in asylum in Russia as he evades U.S. authorities. It claims that the NSA has mined millions of photos from the Internet as part of its facial recognition projects, sourced from social media, e-mail, video chats and even text messages.

Images snapped up from the Internet were then cross-referenced with other databases that included images of airline passengers and even from national identity cards of other countries. The NSA denied that it has access to photos taken for U.S. passports or U.S. driving licenses.

The leaked documents showed that the NSA's facial recognition systems have produced mixed results. Examples were included within that the "Tundra Freeze" (codename) project had turned up several obvious mismatches when trying to identify a young bearded man with dark hair in a photo, and even turned up incorrect results when querying photos of Osama bin Laden in 2011.

Some efforts were successful however, including correctly matching a picture of a bald man at a water park to another picture of the same man with hair, and different clothes in a different setting.

Needless to say, the latest revelation will have privacy groups up in arms, but the NSA claims it is only doing its job.

"We would not be doing our job if we didn't seek ways to continuously improve the precision of signals intelligence activities - aiming to counteract the efforts of valid foreign intelligence targets to disguise themselves or conceal plans to harm the United States and its allies," Vanee Vines, an NSA spokeswoman told the NYT.


Sources and Recommended Reading:
N.S.A. Collecting Millions of Faces From Web Images: www.nytimes.com

Previous Next

Related news

 

16 user comments

12.6.2014 13:57

Is anyone surprised??? You SHOULDN'T be!

Fair game peeps..........post your pics and it's like taking out garbage.........public domain now.

Besides, if you're not doing anything wrong then you have nothing to worry about. Paranoid people need not apply.

22.6.2014 14:15

Originally posted by hearme0:
Is anyone surprised??? You SHOULDN'T be!

Fair game peeps..........post your pics and it's like taking out garbage.........public domain now.

Besides, if you're not doing anything wrong then you have nothing to worry about. Paranoid people need not apply.

It doesn't surprise anyone, but you are dead wrong if you think images of people sent in private (e-mail etc.) is public domain, and also images being taken from national databases (I.D. etc.) is a staggering abuse of power. No governmental agency has been given authorization to use images of private citizens of any country for any purpose outside of INTENDED purposes (I.D., passport etc.).

But no, it's not a surprise at all.

32.6.2014 14:42

Originally posted by Dela:
Originally posted by hearme0:
Is anyone surprised??? You SHOULDN'T be!

Fair game peeps..........post your pics and it's like taking out garbage.........public domain now.

Besides, if you're not doing anything wrong then you have nothing to worry about. Paranoid people need not apply.

It doesn't surprise anyone, but you are dead wrong if you think images of people sent in private (e-mail etc.) is public domain, and also images being taken from national databases (I.D. etc.) is a staggering abuse of power. No governmental agency has been given authorization to use images of private citizens of any country for any purpose outside of INTENDED purposes (I.D., passport etc.).

But no, it's not a surprise at all.
Images on the web man..........FAIR GAME.

Regardless of your distorted sense of what 'should' and 'should not' happen regarding posting on the web.

Post on FB, your own site, dating sites or whatever and it's now public domain......although technically they SHOULD get "permission" for the photos they snatched from a specific website but expecting that or even having ANY hope in that is a lost cause.

As for you reference to sending via EMAIL.....I'd bet their reference to "email" means that they fully understand that MOST people send pics via email. Blanket statement kinda.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 02 Jun 2014 @ 14:45

42.6.2014 15:04

Originally posted by hearme0:
Images on the web man..........FAIR GAME.

Regardless of your distorted sense of what 'should' and 'should not' happen regarding posting on the web.

Post on FB, your own site, dating sites or whatever and it's now public domain......although technically they SHOULD get "permission" for the photos they snatched from a specific website but expecting that or even having ANY hope in that is a lost cause.

As for you reference to sending via EMAIL.....I'd bet their reference to "email" means that they fully understand that MOST people send pics via email. Blanket statement kinda.
Does anyone else see the problems with this argument?

First, it's not fair to assume that a person whose picture is on the net is posted with their knowledge or permission. If laws don't cover this to protect us from ourselves and our leaders, they need to.

Second, Copyright law can cover quite a bit of the works published on the net, including personal photographs. Just because they're available doesn't mean they're up for grabs.

What should happen can only happen if people make it happen. Which, in this day and age, means it probably won't.

Ignorance en masse is still ignorance.

52.6.2014 15:24

Quote:
Does anyone else see the problems with this argument?

Yes. You learn to stop replying seriously.


62.6.2014 16:17

won't find my face on the internet as my picture is not there.

72.6.2014 17:46

(_)(_)
()
\____/

There the NSA has my face on record.

82.6.2014 19:16

I just feel sorry for those people posting selfies pics all day long to everywhere.
lol.


Live Free or Die.
The rule above all the rules is: Survive !
Capitalism: Funnel most of the $$$ to the already rich.

92.6.2014 19:53

Originally posted by Mrguss:
I just feel sorry for those people posting selfies pics all day long to everywhere.
lol.
Yes, I feel very sorry for anyone who would feel compelled to post a selfie.


102.6.2014 23:26

I find myself in a dubious position... I actually agree 100% with hearme0. Anyone who is dumb enough to post pics on the web and think that they are private is just kidding themselves. And the copyright argument is non existent because I don't believe they are using the photos for financial gain. Besides I believe that sites like Facebook and others have in their TOS that pics saved on the sites are not copyrighted, but I could be wrong about that.... I don't do Facebook or any of those other waste of time sites.

113.6.2014 2:56

Originally posted by ddp:
won't find my face on the internet as my picture is not there.
have to ask nsa to upload 1.

custom built gaming pc from early 2010,ps2 with 15 games all original,ps3 500gbs with 5 games all original,yamaha amp and 5.1channel surround sound speakers,46inch sony lcd smart tv.

123.6.2014 12:33

Originally posted by mightyzog:
I find myself in a dubious position... I actually agree 100% with hearme0. Anyone who is dumb enough to post pics on the web and think that they are private is just kidding themselves. And the copyright argument is non existent because I don't believe they are using the photos for financial gain. Besides I believe that sites like Facebook and others have in their TOS that pics saved on the sites are not copyrighted, but I could be wrong about that.... I don't do Facebook or any of those other waste of time sites.


Doesn't necessarily mean its OK to use them even if there is no financial gain, or maybe you could argue that given these projects are publicly funded, there is a financial gain or sorts for the contractors etc. who build systems like this.

Facebook's terms probably state that THEY can use your publicly available material, but as previously pointed out, if YOU post a picture of ME, that doesn't mean that I want my likeness etc. to be used for any other purpose.

But it's not the publicly posted pictures that is the interesting part, it's that the docs indicate images were lifted from non-public sources, such as databases of images (like a database of I.D. in a foreign country) or e-mail, that's the part that makes people angry. If I'm a European for example, and I get a passport in an EU country and that image finds its way to the NSA for their own systems, then that raises ENORMOUS questions about HOW, and what the justification is for doing that etc.

Of course, there's plenty of open questions. Either way, it's an interesting story :-)

133.6.2014 16:00

Originally posted by hearme0:

Besides, if you're not doing anything wrong then you have nothing to worry about. Paranoid people need not apply.
That has to be one of the most moronic statements I've ever seen. I guess if we're not doing anything wrong we have no right to privacy? I guess you wouldn't mind having the police search your house without a warrant because you have nothing to hide? You probably wouldn't mind if government "officials" stopped you on the street and asked for you "papers", patted you down, and searched you? You have nothing to hide right?
Pull your head out of your a**.
It's people like you that they count on to stand idly by.
I do agree that people are not nearly careful enough, maybe even dumb when it comes to posting selfies, and info like that on the web however
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 03 Jun 2014 @ 16:04

146.6.2014 11:16

Best way to rule? Rule through fear. America has this down to a science. The most paranoid country on the planet. The NSA was behind the latest cryptolocker scam...they need a reason to implement their 'internet id' scam. What better way to find a reason to do that, by staging some shit to scare the masses.

157.6.2014 21:05

Originally posted by Mysttic:
(_)(_)
()
\____/

There the NSA has my face on record.
That's just how I pictured you would look like my friend!
Uncanny, but you bear a striking resemblance to my dog if you look at him from behind while he's "poppin a squat" ;)

169.6.2014 12:39

Originally posted by ChappyTTV:
Originally posted by Mysttic:
(_)(_)
()
\____/

There the NSA has my face on record.
That's just how I pictured you would look like my friend!
Uncanny, but you bear a striking resemblance to my dog if you look at him from behind while he's "poppin a squat" ;)
You may have pink-eyes by looking at that kind of porn.
lol
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 09 Jun 2014 @ 12:42

Live Free or Die.
The rule above all the rules is: Survive !
Capitalism: Funnel most of the $$$ to the already rich.

Comments have been disabled for this article.

News archive