If you joined the #10yearchallenge, you may want to think again

The movement literally spells out how a person has aged over a set period of time

Tech Desk January 16, 2019
Canada is adopting some of its North American neighbor’s controversial police methods and dipping its toes into the pool of facial recognition technology. PHOTO: REUTERS

If you are an ardent user of Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, then you may have noticed a new trending movement.

Known as the #10yearchallenge, users are posting pictures from 2009 and 2019 to draw a comparison of how their appearance has changed.

While many picked up on the trend, an author, Kate O’Neil suggested that the trend breaks down information on how age progression and recognition works for digital companies.

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The argument she puts up shows that users are providing the exact number of years between the two pictures making the information easier to process for facial recognition software companies. This definitely raises a privacy alarm.

Usually, the EXIF metadata on the photo uploaded on Facebook would not show the exact date of when it was taken but would come up with an estimated age. At times, social media platforms completely get rid themselves of the EXIF metadata to keep privacy intact.

Another thought given to this also shows that not everyone uploads pictures in chronological order or on the same data as taken, nor do people sometimes even upload pictures of themselves but rather of food, their pets or something else that is close to their heart. The movement literally spells out how a person has aged over a set period of time.

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The way facial recognition works is not always harmful. Last year, for example, in India around 3000 missing children were tracked with the help of the new technology. It worked only because they were missing for four days as the structure of their face would have changed had they been missing for longer, making it difficult for the technology to identify them.

At the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, exhibitors pointed out how facial recognition may be used to “personalise” experiences and enhance personal security. Although facial recognition has been on smartphones for some time, some newer uses include entry systems for homes and offices, along with retail applications.

Many users replied to agree with Kate O’Neil and her theory of how this could worsen privacy.

The story originally appeared on The Wired.


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