back to article It's a facial-recognition bonanza: Oakland bans it, activists track it, and pics taken from dating-site OkCupid feed it

Hello, welcome to this week’s roundup of news in the ever encroaching world of AI and machine learning. We’ll be talking about everyone’s favorite topic at the moment: facial recognition. First San Francisco, Somerville ... now Oakland: California's Oakland has become the third US city to ban its local government using facial …

  1. earl grey Silver badge
    Big Brother

    I, for one

    Don't welcome our facial rec overlords.

  2. The Average Joe

    Microsoft says...

    your facial recognition password on windows 10 is so much more secure than keyboard passwords that they want all web sites to support windows hello... Microsoft the same company that has trustworthy computing as a project and buzzword.

  3. SNAFUology
    Paris Hilton

    Farcial recognition

    Microsoft had a fingerprint driver that connected with the west coast of US when you booted your pc or laptop.

    Now it's facial recognition

    but you just sit there and do nothing while they feed on you - Oh well, so be it !

    1. Sandtitz Silver badge

      Re: Farcial recognition @SNAFUology

      "Microsoft had a fingerprint driver that connected with the west coast of US when you booted your pc or laptop."

      <citation needed>

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Farcial recognition @SNAFUology

        Especially since how would it work in a not-spot?

  4. FelixReg

    Welcome to the global village

    Ah, a village - where everyone knows everyone else's secrets. It's the future of humanity.

    It's interesting that "bias" is trotted out against facial recognition systems. Aaand, what happens when these systems are fed enough images to beat humans at the "They all look alike" game? Which of the noisemakers on either side of this issue will change their tune?

  5. LDS Silver badge

    'too dangerous to be in the government's hands'

    And in which hands it would be safe? Facebook? Google? Amazon? Microsoft? Apple?

    Maybe it's unsafe in any hands? But in some ways it was better it was governments to control nuclear warheads, and not some mad scientist in a volcano lair...

    But beware, there's a difference between mass destruction weapons and surveillance ones. The former scares even those who control them. The latter made them think they can get a better hold on power - regardless of they're the government or a private company.

  6. Pascal Monett Silver badge


    "If we allow this dangerous biometric spying to spread and become ubiquitous, it won't be used to keep us safe – it will be used to control us"

    Finally, someone with a smidgen of authority says out loud what everyone is thinking. And why is it that we suddenly have this rash of facial recognition in cities that have no history of terrorism ? Since when has Oakland been a hotbed of terrorist activity ?

    I could eventually accept that New York try facial recognition, it unfortunately has a history of terrorism. But California ? Give me a break. The only reason cities other than New York or Washington D.C. want to try facial recognition is have that feeling of power over the people.

    Except that, it doesn't work. Which calls into question all those reports about how airports are delighted with it. How can they make it work when entire cities can't ? Something's fishy in the land of surveillance cameras.

  7. MachDiamond Silver badge


    The phrase "persecution of minority groups" is racist by itself. Persecution of ALL people (as groups) should be something that governments work to eliminate. Besides, I remember reading that facial recognition doesn't work as well in some societies where people tend to adopt the same "look". In the US and Europe, people of many backgrounds have produced children which leads to greater diversity in facial features and in both places there is not as much conformity to having the same hair style/distribution.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good article

    Just to say, of late The Reg has got itself some pretty good talent, in my opinion. I greatly enjoy reading Ms Quach's thorough and informative articles.

    This is the second one I've come across today from this author, so I thought I would congratulate. Thanks.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If it was with OK Cupid’s consent and you’re thinking “no big deal, obscure dating site”:

    Don’t. OKC’s been bought by the parent company of Tinder, which now also owns and Plenty of Fish - they went on a big competitor shopping spree. Pretty sure you need to be a logged-in user to view profiles, unlike POF, so a big covert data slurp would be harder to pull off.

  10. matjaggard

    If I visit a site, at least tell me if the content is not relevant

    "Find out if there’s cameras near you here." - but only if you're in the US.

    1. RunawayLoop

      Re: If I visit a site, at least tell me if the content is not relevant

      I would argue that being informed about current developments in facial recognition is just as "relevant" in the UK (and other parts of the non-US world) as it is in the US.

      The fact that the list doesn't specifically include UK sites is perhaps an opportunity for you to add to it. I mean Britain once held (does it still?) the honour of having the most CCTV camera per capita in the world and god knows we've read enough articles about your plod not caring if the tech works or not; they're still using it.

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