Feeds

back to article Expert: BA doesn't need permission to google your face

British Airways (BA) may not need passengers' consent in order to identify them using images available on the internet, an expert has said. Data protection law specialist Danielle van der Merwe of Pinsent Masons (the law firm behind Out-Law.com), said that the company could argue that it is in its legitimate interests to process …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

Silver badge

So now there are 400,000 images

of pigs with my name attached.

Oh hang on...

0
0
Silver badge

Can see it now

Ba staff: Mr Smith I presume, can I just ask you to drop your keks so I can check you have that birthmark I saw in your nudey prod pics online.

4
0
Silver badge
Facepalm

Re: Can see it now

... and that's a charming tattoo you have, Mrs Smith.

Oh, you don't have any tattoos... erm...

1
1
Anonymous Coward

Mr Jones and Mrs Smith

Welcome. On behalf of BA I'd like to wish you an enjoyable romantic break in Paris.

2
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Mr Jones and Mrs Smith

... and my regards to your respective spouses back at home.

2
1
Silver badge
Facepalm

Re: Re: Mr Jones and Mrs Smith

Did you think we wouldn't get the implied message?

1
2
Stop

Image Author's Consent?

Notwithstanding proposed orphaned works legislation, rather than the subject's consent, I would have thought that BA would be required to gain consent from the image rights holder before 'processing' (ie. copying into their database) the image.

11
0
Anonymous Coward

They must have amazing staff...

For regular business travellers I can imagine staff getting to know faces and names and greet passengers accordingly. This article implies, however, that check-in staff will memorise faces and names of 300+ passengers for the first flight of the day and then do it all again 2 hours later for the next flight. And then again another 2 hours later.

Wow, that's some expectation to have of staff. I assume BA will be paying them accordingly?

2
0
Silver badge

Re: They must have amazing staff...

This is just aimed at first and business, nor sure if it stated that but previous articles did. A few staff do recognise routine travellers but you can tell its genuine (which makes all the difference) and its rarely more than a hello. These poor sods sometims see thousands of people a day, I really don't expect them to remember I can drink my own weight in cranapple juice and pinot gris. (not mixed!). If you fly domestic routes often you will get to know a few attendants and them you, into Europe less, internationally you'd have to fly very often.

2
0

Re: They must have amazing staff...

This is purely for on-plane staff AFAIK, using the iPad that the cabin service director can be issued with. I don't expect this to extend to the check-in desk, mostly 'cos even in T5 business class customers are still expected to use self-service kiosks AFAIR. Only First have a dedicated check in zone without self-service kiosks.

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: They must have amazing staff...

I'm regularly greeted by name as I step aboard a BA flight. The staff at the door glance at my boarding pass, see my name, and use it. It's like magic!

2
0
Silver badge

Re: They must have amazing staff...

Very true, but under the new blue sky thinking abortion what will happen is if i turn left at the door they will look at their ipleb, its camera will identify me as mr spaniel and they will go weak at the knees, gush on the carpet as demand to have my puppies like I am some kind of superstar.

The thinking is that being 'recognised' will make people feel special. Because they cannot download everybodies pictures into their staffs brain what they will do is use technology to identify people and perform some kinda of pseudo recognition ceremony. For sure this will work with some folks, it's the complete lack of sincerity that irks me. Hunting around the internet for pictures is a little weird, couldn't they just have people in their 'know me' program just submit a picture? Thus avoiding the tin hat brigades ire, the cost of sleuthing pictures and also wouldn't piss the rest of us off who just want a comfortable, peaceful flight.

2
0

Re: They must have amazing staff...

False.

They stated in previous articles that there will be no electronic facial recognition it will all be down to the orange interface between the iPad and the customer (ie cabin crew)

0
0
Silver badge

Re: They must have amazing staff...

Ah, my apologies. That still does not change the rest of it. They're making the poor buggers memorise 30-50 pictures and names per flight then. Just to make people who weren't loved enough by their parents feel a little more special.

0
0

I'm curious, how does the actual search sit though?

Finding pictures of me on the net was never going to be an issue for BA as they're publicly available, so they always had that to fall back on as a defence.

But, to search for me, they need to search for my name (obviously), in doing so they would be disclosing that I'm their customer (to Google of all people). I can't imagine they'd have that much accuracy just using a name, so they will presumably be refining with other criteria as well.

Now not only will that information go to Google, but would be in the referrer string when any site holding a photo of me is accessed. So now, it's possible for two different entities to know a bit about me, including that I fly with BA.

I can't think of a chilling effect of this, but it's still not particularly nice to think that a company would so happily chuck my details out for people to find. Searching for Ben Tasker on Google Image search returns about 263,000 results so they'd obviously have to refine a bit. Even adding the name of the town I live in would mean they are disclosing information that I don't necessarily want aired publicly.

On the other hand, when you book you could just tell them not to!

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Simples!

Just find all the pictures of yourself on the internet and watermark them:

"Not for use in automated image gathering" or similar. If they take a copy of your image...

3) Profit!

1
1

Thats easy, I set up BenTasker.com, fill it with pictures of you and your personal details. I become the number one site for stalking Ben Tasker, and now, every time you fly I get notified by BA.

4
0
Silver badge

@Ben Tasker

Simple.

1) iFad takes picture of your fizzog (no name required)

2) Sends to muckle-huge 'cloud service'

2.1) Takes some reference points of you face

2.2) Reverse image search (a la TinEye), probably using paid-for Facebook, G+, Other images (meta-data/links) can be used to get your name)

2.3) Finds you, returns name to iFad

3) You are greeted as Ms. Happy-Cat!

Of course, they could just look at your boarding pass/id (which they have to anyway) but that would be far, far too simple.

Now here's the thing, such a system could be used for much more nefarious purposes. Are you dumb enough to be on FourSquare? Chronically stupid enough to let you home location leak? Then anyone with this (or a similar) app could take a sneaky pic and find out what house to rob. Sweet, innit?

1
0

Re: @Ben Tasker

Some great ideas there, I'm obviously not feeling devious enough today!

I wonder if they'd go as far as to tag images with where they were retrieved from (I suppose they might need to in case they do get a complaint).

So you could, upload an image to imabackdoorman.com (not going to check if that's real!) and with a little bit of work (or good SEO on the sites part) ensure that not only do they get an image, they get a (perceived) insight into which hosting staff are most likely to be hit on!

I would say you could do the same with suitably terrorist sounding domains to stop someone flying, but I suspect the TSA already check that for anyone flying to the states, and our lot probably do some searching too to some extent.

0
0
Big Brother

It won't be used to greet folks by name...

Well, maybe, but only briefly if it is. If they try that, they will learn the lesson that American Express learned about 20 years ago. They installed CallerID checking stuff to match incoming phone calls against the phone numbers in their databases, and flashed that on the call centre staff's screens. The idea was that they could give a personalised greeting (Ring, ring, ... "Good morning Mr Cynic, how can I help you?") and have the client's files quickly available. They stopped doing it because it was freaking people out, not to mention if I use Mr Bloggs's phone to call, and the wrong file gets pulled up.

No, it will be used to help security services quickly identify targeted people without having to bother everyone.

And it wouldn't help anyone identify me. A search in any image search engine for my name will find pictures of an American drag racer and various others, but not of me.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: It won't be used to greet folks by name...

I think the Chinese Takeaway my dad uses does this (that or they just recognise the number on the cli screen). Beforehand they used to recognise him by voice.

Surprisingly he's not a fatty.

0
0
Silver badge

Re: It won't be used to greet folks by name...

Damn right. If some total stranger puts on a blatantly fake plastic smile and greets me by name, they'll get the same treatment as the religious nutters who bang on my door and do fake 'friendly' greetings to try to make me feel uncomfortable in telling them to $%^& OFF.

1
0
Silver badge

I see a new license

Creative Commons - Blurb...

# Non-Commercial - Blurb...

# By-Attribution - Blurb...

# ...

# Not-For-Identification - This image (in whole, part or any derivative form) may not be used for the purpose of automatic identification without the written, signed and notarised consent of the copyright holder and all subjects contained herein. Such consents are only valid for a one-time use. All costs to be borne by the user of the identification system.

3
0
MJI
Silver badge

No pictures on line of me

By me yes, of me no.

My wife set up a facebook account with my name to use for Farmville (sad) so that has had a picture of a cider glass, a picture of a video game character, but not me.

0
0
Silver badge

LOL

Tried to find images of myself on Google. Complete fail. But this one came up which I quite liked: http://cs6039.userapi.com/u157728386/video/l_77fa78e4.jpg

Good luck identifying me using that, though...

1
1
Silver badge

Re: LOL

Tag that as NSFW you tit.

0
3
Silver badge

Re: LOL

That's NSFW??? You work in a monastery?

OK, my apologies - please note that the link in my post above is potentially NSFW.

2
0
Silver badge
Unhappy

Re: LOL

Now I want to click the link. At work.

2
0
Silver badge
Devil

Re: LOL

Don't worry there is only a little flesh and none of it is interesting

Sigh, The great challenge in life : clicking or not clicking on the NSFW stuff. I have my own office I dont care , lol

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: LOL

"Tag that as NSFW you tit."

a) Did you not see it coming?

b) Procrastinating at work? Browse at your own peril (and don't give us that "I'm on lunch break" bullshit). No wonder jobs go to India.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: LOL

"http://cs6039.userapi.com/u157728386/video/l_77fa78e4.jpg"

That your daughter? Can I have an introduction? Can I?

0
0

Plenty of pictures with my name

None of them are actually me. I decided a long while ago to keep myself off the radar, so no account with Facebook or other social media, I keep all pictures of myself off the web, etc.

2
0
Silver badge
Devil

Re: Plenty of pictures with my name

Ah, just think of the fun you're missing! If you have a distinctive and original name (and neither my real or nom de plume are, unfortunately), you could put loads of hilarious pics up on Fartbook or the like. If you were feeling mean you could even link them through to some hard-core pr0n sites so the person trying to Google you gets hit by the firewall police.

0
2
Big Brother

Pseudopolymath

LIARS. BA LIARS.

0
0
Silver badge

That's fine

because I don't need their permission to fly on another airline. I don't want flight attendants trying to flatter me with BS because their company tells them to. They have a tough job, they don't need to have to worry about pratting around trying to act like they know me because of how much I paid for my ticket.

A few klm flights I flew would recognise me if I flew them frequently, but it was a genuine "hello $firstname " and not an attempt to make me love klm. I am sure some folks would like to be recognised and I make no judgement about them, thats fine, I just want to get on the plane, have a meal, some wine, maybe do a little work, maybe rest and get to my destination. I want to be treated with respect, not like a cash pinata by the company forcing their staff to fawn over me like I'm someone they should recognise. Turning your flight attendants into fluffers is a step backwards in customer service (and for your staff who have plenty of work to do already). Flying used to be fun. These days it's closer to a trauma.

2
0
Windows

Enquiring minds need to know

So will the BA staff on the plane turn their iPads off when the aircraft is taxiing and during take off and landing? Or will they just do what so many others seem to get away with by flipping the cover over and pretending it's off.

0
0
FAIL

Good luck with that

Searching Google Images for my name (even using quotes to avoid hits on only my first or last name and including only those that show a person) gives well into double figures. Especially if you include the ones with several people in one picture. Is a member of staff expected to memorise all of those and associate them with my name just in case any are actually me? One is, as it happens. but were I not in a particular voluntary role, that wouldn't be published.

0
0

Won't somebody think of the

So BA will be googling pics of 10 yr old girls then, since girls of that age do actually turn up to fly on their planes

1
0
Facepalm

This could backfire

For a while I went through life being called "Mister Duh" by complete strangers.

What had happened was that my idiotic bank got my surname wrong on my credit card wrong. When pronounced it sounded like "Duh!". Then a local supermarket chain decided it would sound grand it their staff could call you by your name if you paid by credit card. I.e. "How are you, Mister Bond" or "Thank you, Professor Moriarty" would sound better than "Bags??". So when I got to the checkout, they would go: "How are you, Mr. Duh?".

We were not amused.

1
0
FAIL

Why don't they scan your passport photo, and (for the cabin crew) take a note of your seat-number?

That way, they know that they can positively identify Jo Bloggs when she comes up to them.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

On the Internet

I am a dog

1
0
Silver badge
Pint

Re: On the Internet

And you're probably in your 40s.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Not a problem for me

I'm never gonna be rich enough to fly First Class, or BA, any time soon :-\

0
0

Sure the response should be...

...for us (the passengers) to create a database of BA flight staff and some form of logic to determine which routes they service. Or use face recog so a sneaky pic of them as you board the flight will render all their details. I see boarding going something like this:

Stewardess: Good morning Mr Moore, how are you today.

Me: Fine Stephanie. Did you have a good time in the Ayia Napa? Well done on all those topless photo's by the way.

4
0
Silver badge
Stop

Queue a new method of harassment

Watch out for your online persona being poisoned. Fly to the US often? Better hope no-one with a bit of photshop-fu has uploaded a photo tagged "Me and my best mate Osama, LOL"

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: Queue a new method of harassment

Or big up your own treatment by having pics with your best mates Willie, Keith and Sir Martin...

0
0

By reason of prejudice...

According to BA's own justification for the service it could be in breach of the DPA due to the prejudicial way in which they propose to use it...

"The Google Images search app helps our customer service team to recognise high profile travellers such as captains of industry who would be using our First class facilities enabling us to give a more personalised service"

The act states that this would be:

"unwarranted in any particular case by reason of prejudice to the rights and freedoms or legitimate interests of the data subject"

1
0

But why bother?

Its BA, not Easy Jet so cabin crew know who you are from your seat anyway.

They say they are using it to recognise passengers who have experienced delays on previous flights. At what point are they trying to recognise them? Probably as they check in where they are presenting ID and a booking reference, details that are more accurate at recognising a person.

Lads, its time to grow that porn star moustache. Think of the NSFW hits they will get searching your image.

0
0
Stop

Formality

I have a basic problem with people I don't know treating me as if they do know me.

4
0
Anonymous Coward

Hmm...

At the time of writing: 36 comments, all by people who turn right, non by people who turn left.

If I paid the five grand to turn left for my trip to the states, I'd appreciate the staff doing a little homework. BA cabin staff are, in my experience, far more skilled than those of many other airlines and are not the sort of people who are going to make recognising you from a photo on the internet "creepy" in some way.

0
2

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.