back to article Facial recognition at festivals, stupid shoplifting algorithms, Google shares data to kill off deepfakes

Let's catch you up on recent AI news happenings. Facial recognition at music festivals, yay or nay? Musicians and festival organizers are freaking out over the use facial recognition cameras being used during live performances. Several artists have joined a campaign organised by the non-profit activist group Fight for Our …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Cameras everywhere

    So on the one hand, we have concerts with cameras watching us without our consent, and now somebody wants to put yet more cameras in shopping areas to "simplify" our shopping experience.

    On that subject I have a question : what is going to be the experience of the non-registered shopper ? They had better have a sign saying "Registered Clients Only" or something like that, because otherwise what people are going to see is some people picking stuff up and just leaving, which is likely to create the impression that the merchandise is free.

    That will likely create problems.

    1. Rol Silver badge

      Re: Cameras everywhere

      My Boris Johnson masks are available on-line and at a stand outside all facial recognition billing stores.

      Disclaimer:- These life-like latex masks, are intended for a bit of fun and should not be used to empty the fat oafs bank account.

  2. SVV Silver badge

    Priorities, priorities!

    So, in Africa researchers are working on important things such as how to increase farming yields and improve financing for farmers, whilst in Europe, Google and university researchers are working on important things such as how to identify fake videos of celebrities having sex.

    1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

      Re: Priorities, priorities!

      You forgot about the whole detecting diseases thing. Sometimes it's possible for a culture to do more that one thing at a time.

  3. Draco

    Naive good intent or Psyops?

    Google releasing "a large dataset of visual deepfakes" they've produced is - ostensibly - done with the aim of improving detection of deepfakes. However, it also provides producers of deepfakes (which, apparently, includes Google) a dataset against which they can refine their deepfakes so they no longer get classified as deepfakes.

    Thinking about the "real" intent / motivation makes my head hurt: is Google optimistically naive, or is there some deeper psyop game behind it? Did a human make this decision or did some "ethical" AI come up with it?

    1. Mephistro Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Naive good intent or Psyops?

      You're right, of course. The potential for abuse is just mind boggling.

  4. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  5. Andy The Hat Silver badge


    In Europe how would a commercial, as opposed to a state law enforcement organisation, facial recognition database align with the requirement of GDPR? Unless the suspected stalker has willingly allowed his/her image and data to be stored on a database for such a purpose then I would imagine the data cannot be used for that purpose and the owners of that database would be in breach ... Or is there a sneaky legal way around this?

    1. Mephistro Silver badge

      Re: GDPR?

      The company could offer money to convicts in exchange for a) their mugshots and some more personal data and b) their explicit authorization to use their data.

      I foresee it'll end up famously well.*


      * Think of the cascading failure involved in requesting (and probably obtaining, FFS) permission from the govt., the prisons or the courts to contact inmates and/or ex-convicts, several lengthy trips to the ECJ and the customary big ending at the ECHR.**

      ** I bet the EHCR's judgement in the case includes something like "The companies hoodwinked cons and ex-cons to sell something whose value the sellers didn't know or understand, and they didn't receive any info on the possible consequences of signing this contract". Bad news is that the last stage is probably ~15 years in the future. 8^(

    2. SPiT

      Re: GDPR?

      I suspect the GDPR questions about facial recognition will run and run. There are in fact several layers to it.

      # There needs to be some basis for collecting the face data which, at the time of collection, included an explanation of the planned purpose.

      # There needs to some basis for collecting the CCTV images at the point of use.

      # Once facial recognition has taken place the resulting data must only be processed in a way which is compatible with both data collection justifications.

      # If, in either collection point, consent is used then a proper explanation of how the data will be processed needs to be provided.

      # Given that GDPR explicitly makes it unlawful to make collection of inessential information a condition of any service (such as entering a shop), then no matter what signs you put up the shop cannot assume consent and as such needs a lawful basis for collection other than user consent.

      Based on these I cannot see how facial recognition can be used in a commercial setting without either explicit fully explained consent (Amazon shop) or if it is being used for some specifically permitted purpose. This is likely to be difficult around use versus shoplifters as it is likely that the only lawful use would be to draw staff attention to who to watch as it could not, on its own, be used as the basis for any positive action without running into severe GDPR problems.

      Obviously, none of this bothers the companies involved because they are specifically planning for the European market and, of course, almost anything goes in the USA. It is likely that this is why everyone is so concerned about racial bias as that would make positive action on such evidence unlawful in the USA.

  6. harmjschoonhoven
    Big Brother

    Re: AI in Africa

    The Chinese technology company Cloudwalk is building a facial recognition database in Zimbabwe. Biometric data of Zimbabwians will be exported to China to train the algorithms to better recognize people of African descent. The software can then be exported to other African countries for a high price.

    1. Mephistro Silver badge

      Re: AI in Africa

      " better recognize people of African descent"

      You don't need any effin AI to detect people of African ascent in China! They're obvious!!!

      Yes, yes, please don't push me, I'll leave by myself, thank you!


      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: AI in Africa

        Ultimately everyone is of African descent so it's simple

  7. BGatez Bronze badge

    Minority Report

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I guess she really meant it when...

    I guess she really meant it when she said they were never ever getting back together...

  9. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Actor shoplifting

    Please tell me the actors had a striped T-shirt, a little black eye mask and a bag marked swag?

    1. Just Enough

      Re: Actor shoplifting

      Doesn't matter what the actors were wearing, I suspect they will find that they can never again step inside one of these stores without being stopped by security, for basically looking like themselves.

      And if they sell-on this technology, these actors may find that they have been forever embedded in AI systems are archetypal thieves.

  10. Mike 137 Bronze badge

    Replacing people

    Automation is taking over in many areas of commerce simply because it's expected to be cheaper. People cost too much for the bean counters to justify, and the bean counters don't care about unexpected consequences unless they result in liability.

    I've been trying to book a hotel room in Europe from the UK. One major hotel chain (Marriot) doesn't publish a phone number for my hotel of choice, and the hotel doesn't answer emails. Apparently you can only book via an online portal without being able to query anything. Another hotel responds to all emails with a boiler plate message from a noreply account pointing one to irrelevant FAQs on its web site.

    The dystopian future is not robots taking over a la Terminator - it's already with us and it's never again being able to get a personal response from a human being. Oh brave new world...

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