Sunday, July 18, 2010

Mark Cuban Would Like to Grab Facebook Photos for Facial Recognition

Billionaire Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has announced he has just invested in a company "that takes video of an area and can tell you exactly how many people are in the capture area at any given time."

"Its a great for traffic patterns, security, and much more. We are posting cameras in certain environments where anonymity is required, and we don’t and won’t capture faces or anything that could identify an individual. We will simply provide incredibly accurate traffic information and patterns," he says.

After this intro, Cuban flips 100% in the announcement and starts talking about "opt out mechanisms". You ask why is he talking about "opt out mechanisms" when he starts out talking about the anonymity his cameras assure? Good question.

It turns out that Cuban's plans shift completely away from anonymity. What he is really doing is eyeing everyone's Facebook pic. Here's more of what he has just announced:
The next extension is to install it in places where we can add facial recognition software. So rather than someone checking in to a specific application, we would already know you are there.

Of course there would have to be “opt out” mechanisms. Of course there would be a battle over whether or not a store or venue should be “opt in” vs automated recognition, but that’s not a software issue. The reality is that its solves “the path of least resistance” issue with check-ins for location-based software. Individuals never do any of the work. The store/host recognizes you are there and rewards you for allowing your identity and information to be captured and linked. If Amazon can “welcome us back” and offer us personalized specials, why shouldnt [sic] brick and mortar establishments ?

Even more interesting is the fact that Facebook provides a database of 500mm people and their names from around world. While not all profile pictures are going to be valid in facial recognition software, most will. Few people exclude their basic name and picture information from public search, so FB could be the first to provide a database of names and faces to the commercial world of facial recognition.

Location Check in is so 2010.
Bottom line: Cuban knows this is a hot potato and is slick enough to cover it up as simply a counting camera, and then it's a check-in camera, but what is really going on here is he is going for the big time tracking camera.

Cuban does not have a  record of getting involved with government, but he is really playing with fire here. This is a terrible project for him to be working on. Even if he doesn't play footsie with the government, it surely is the type of equipment that the government might want to take over for "security" reasons, and then the real tracking begins where they will know every move you make once you get out of your house or car.

It really is time to take your Facebook account down, or at least put a picture of Mark Cuban where they ask for your pic:


  1. Mark Cuban is a prick...if I ever see him again in Dallas, I will personally kick his ass for being such a metro-gay boy!

  2. Reason enough why I got rid of my Facebook account and refuse to "socialize" on any other such smarmy site. They have no damn reason other than to benefit from exposing you, like some sort of sick enabling "little bro" to Big Bro.

  3. Good thing I saw this coming a looooong time ago, hence why my "picture" is a comic book character I snagged off the net. Try and recognize me now big brother!

  4. Facebook is for people who are pathetic and desperate to look like they have a life when clearly all they actually do is sit behind a computer all day. It takes such a pathetic person to carefully arrange pictures, quotes music etc to create this false image of themselves just so that total strangers from the other side of the country might be fooled into thinking they are cool or interesting.

    That said, I'm not so sure its not a great idea for these people to be under constant surveillance when they venture out in public. Most are socially inept and might need government babysitting. I mean what is Facebook besides asking the world to baby sit you? You show people what you look like, constantly update what you're doing and solicit opinions on the things you've done or are going to do. There is no difference between this and being baby sat, whether you are an adult or not.

    Don't bash Mark Cuban. You pathetic losers are practically begging for this...

  5. Has Mark not seen Minority Report?

  6. Remember when facial recognition took special cameras? What they did not mention then was the "special camera" was a new fangled device called a ccd (this is the sensor used in digital cameras). SO, just a heads up to those who are paranoid about facial recognition. It is too late. Go into a convenience store, use an atm, go to the bank, use the self post kiosk at the usps, or get a drivers license and you have your face linked to your identity. Then it is just a matter of using a program to map your face. So unless you walk around with a veil on or have absolutely no digital information to tie the image to; you are already in the vast decentralized databases of the digital era.

  7. In case you are about to go and delete your facebook image; don't bother. Your friends and family can tag you in images. So unless you want to track them all down and demand they remove all images of yourself, relax and enjoy the benefits of the digital age instead of worrying about it.

  8. You have got to be kidding me, Deuce. You sound like a bigot; instantly judging oh...500 million people or so. You're judgments are both inane and shallow, and it sounds to me like you have no idea what you're talking about. Maybe that's your problem: Perhaps you don't have friends and family to put up pictures of, to share things with, and as a result you're bashing everyone else who does like a whiny little brat.

    FB is a tool for people to use, like so many other applications. I use it to keep in touch with my family that is spread out over most of the USA. I use it to share interesting things and articles with people. Is there the possibility of abuse by government? Of course there is, they're the government and they'll abuse us in any way they can. But I for one am not going to go hide under a rock because of that.

  9. Anybody here ever seen "V for Vendetta"? The answer to video surveillance is to wear a mask. Personally, I would love it if most people walked around with masks on, and not just in the figurative sense.

  10. I won't shop at any store that uses this.

  11. Once i heard about Brandon Raub is when I deleted my FB and I do not regret it one bit!