Ever, an "unlimited photo storage app," secretly fed its users' photos to a face-recognition system pitched to military customers UPDATE

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/05/10/you-agreed-2.html

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I’ll be contrary here, and say that this is the new normal for photo services, and may not be that bad.

First, we know that iPhoto and Google Photos both do this, right? Both services can automatically tag faces (this is touted as a benefit, and honestly I love being able to instantly find my photos of people), and it should be pretty obvious that they use the customer’s data to continue to improve the algorithms.

Second, my understanding is not that they’re selling the faces, but the algorithm itself. The algorithm itself was created by analyzing photographs, but does not contain the images within it. And the algorithm is just one of dozens (like Google’s, and others) that is simply on the market, and they’re all just competing on highest accuracy vs cost. Google has its cloud vision service, which can not only recognize faces but also emotions (again, trained with our photos, presumably), they are selling it as a product, and I don’t recall being told this explicitly when I signed up for Google Photos.

Use of facial recognition by law enforcement is a separate topic and needs to be much more highly regulated, by people who understand the risks.

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the only way for Ever users to discover that their photos have become AI training data is to plough through a 2,500 “privacy policy.”

2500 word? page? volume? “privacy policy”? :wink:

Also, crap, now I have to rethink the unlimited photo storage that comes with Amazon Prime. :thinking:


Use by law enforcement is a separate topic??

…Ever then offers to sell that technology to private companies, law enforcement and the military.

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So if they get their money by studying faces, would using it to store my photos of model airplanes be an unmitigated financial burden to them? Will they eventually demand that all or at least some of your photos have faces?



Photo ‘memories’ storage biz Ever uses family snaps to train facial recognition AI

Doug Aley, CEO of Ever AI, told The Register : “To be absolutely clear, no user information of any kind is provided from our Ever app to our enterprise face recognition customers. That means that no user images are provided, and no information derived from those images, such as vectors or mathematical representations of the images, are provided to our enterprise customers.”
Instead, it looks as though the data taken from Ever is being used to train Ever AI’s facial recognition models, and this software is then sold to its enterprise customers in the form of an API.
The relationship between Ever and Ever AI isn’t very clear, however. Ever’s privacy policy mentions nothing about Ever AI. Aley did not clarify how the two companies are linked. We have asked Ever for comment, too.
Aley did not say what Ever AI’s policy was for selling the technology to law enforcement or the military.

2500 nanometers. You have a home scanning electron microscope, right?

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