Feeds

Google grabs facial-recognition 'ware firm

Presumably such kit no longer creeps Schmidt out

High performance access to file storage

Google has bought a facial recognition company called pittpatt.

pittpatt

Pittpatt was spun off from the University of Carnegie Mellon in 2004 following 10 years of research by Dr Henry Schneiderman, now the company's president and CEO.

The company specialises in "reliable facial recognition software for images and video".

Given the outrage Facebook caused by switching on similar software without asking its users, Google would be wise to tread carefully.

Facebook's tech scanned photos as they were uploaded and suggested "Tags" – names of the people pictured.

By neglecting to allow people to opt in, Facebook allowed anyone to see pictures of you taken by others – even if you'd kept pictures private on your own profile.

Facebook later apologised for not being clearer.

Data protection regulator the ICO is investigating the implications of the changes.

ICO spokesman said: “We have spoken to Facebook about the privacy implications of their facial recognition technology. As with any new technology, we expect Facebook to be upfront about how people’s personal information is being used. The privacy issues that this software might raise are obvious and users should be given as much information as possible to give them the opportunity to make an informed choice about whether they wish to use it.”

If Google are looking to introduce a similar feature through their own social networking platform then the same privacy considerations would also apply."

We've asked Google for comment but haven't heard anything back yet. The acquisition looks a little curious in light of comments by Eric Schmidt at Google's 'Big Tent' privacy conference in May to the effect that facial recognition technology creeped him out, and in which the company co-founder seemed to state that Google would not make use of such technology. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Nokia offers 'voluntary retirement' to 6,000+ Indian employees
India's 'predictability and stability' cited as mobe-maker's tax payment deadline nears
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
It may be ILLEGAL to run Heartbleed health checks – IT lawyer
Do the right thing, earn up to 10 years in clink
France bans managers from contacting workers outside business hours
«Email? Mais non ... il est plus tard que six heures du soir!»
Adrian Mole author Sue Townsend dies at 68
RIP Blighty's best-selling author of the 1980s
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Analysts: Bright future for smartphones, tablets, wearables
There's plenty of good money to be made if you stay out of the PC market
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.