NSA facial recognition: combining national ID cards, Internet intercepts, and commercial facial databases for millions of people

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2014/06/01/nsa-facial-recognition-combin.html

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An interesting coda to the piece is that the NSA has developed the capability to infer location by comparing scenery in terrestrial photos to satellite images, which sounds like a pretty gnarly computer-vision problem.

I am going to have to start wearing one of those fake photo fore grounds that have a hole for a face. Maybe I will become a mermaid under the sea.



The problem with people like Hillier is not that they dismiss the idea that the technology to do these things exists as paranoid ramblings, it’s thinking that the government would misuse the tech that supposedly makes you paranoid.

“If you’ve done nothing wrong, you’ve got nothing to fear” is palpably horseshit but it’s still a surprisingly pervasive mentality.


How long before no one would consider going out in public without their make-up on to alter their appearance or confuse FRSoftware? Well, no one who worries about this kind of thing.

Time to invest in face paint and make up companies. Get in now and beat the rush.

Larry Niven was ahead of the curve again.


But hey, you can still post your murderous rants and plans for slaughter on Youtube with your name and face visible for the world to see and get away with it! Over and over again, too!

The only people this is meant to terrorize are law-abiding citizens whose taxes fund this dreck. Criminals seem to go on as happily as they did before…


Yeah, the NSA could be automatically transcribing the voice on all YouTube videos and looking for keywords like “slaughter” “execute” and “kill” in order to head off people posting manifestos. That might actually be possible with the technology Google and the like have at the moment - at least flagging up the 100 most deranged videos based on the audio transcripts each week, and having someone human review them. It’s not an invasion of privacy though, since the data is publicly available, therefore it’s outside the NSA’s remit.

I read that data sources like Twitter and Google Searches are able to predict employment levels (increases in googling for porn correlates with increasing unemployment) in near real-time, months ahead of the government statistics.

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I wonder if there is a counter-correlation with increasing numbers of people who work at home. Pure speculation of course.

Of course. They could waste precious days of my life having me cower in the corner like a deluded and paranoid coward doing all of the work for them thinking up the next vast and diabolical conspiracy theory for them as they waste my money. Nice try, but I am not buying what they are selling.

A system only works if people fear it and let it control their lives. People can believe whatever goofiness they want; if they decide to grow a pair of ovaries and not give anyone a dime or second more of their time, the threat ceases to exist.

I am sure future generations will read about this Dark Ages and laugh at the collective stupidity just as we laugh at those old movies telling kids to hide under their desks during an atomic attack.

Forget drugs and sex: people are addicted to the Bogey Man: how else will they justify their miserable failures in life?

Last year I saw an advertisement on a bus stop for a site that lets you upload your photo and then, using facial recognition, pairs you with your “twin.” And my very first thought was, who the hell is collecting all those faces, and why?

And my second thought was, who can afford outdoor advertising all over the country, for a free website?


What if they work from home writing a porn-critique blog?

pittpatt? really?


Other things aside, is everyone with me on this?
If Skynet really does come into existence and kills us all… it’s the NSA’s fault!

Holy crap!

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