Hey, I know this guy!

Each week I put together a collection of strange search-engine queries, and I discard rather a lot of queries which aren’t strange at all but do perplex me somewhat: some folks appear to believe that there exist nude photographs of everyone on earth, and if they word their search strings carefully enough, those photographs will be found.

The Academic Naturist argues that privacy is being sufficiently diminished by technology that those of us who occasionally don’t bother to get dressed will eventually be Googlable, or worse. One substantial threat comes from Microsoft Windows Live:

To compete with Google’s street view, Microsoft decided to fly planes and capture a “bird’s eye view” with pretty good resolution. You can see people, and you can easily identify campers and cars. Plus, this doesn’t stop at the street — it’s a close view into private property! This view covers a surprising amount of the US.

But it’s nothing compared to this:

Polar Rose … is a Firefox plugin that detects people in pictures. If people know the person in the picture, they can tag a name to them. Then, Polar Rose uses face recognition technology to identify that person in all future photos. For example, someone tags John Smith in their family reunion picture. Later on, someone else cruising Flickr maps sees that picture of four people in the nudist hot tub, and Polar Rose happily points out John Smith. That’s not good!

I knew there was a reason I’d never bothered to unpack, let alone connect, my webcam.

1 comment

  1. McGehee »

    2 May 2008 · 7:44 am

    People using the picture from my blog will almost certainly find that “Kevin McGehee” worked as a riding extra and stunt man in 1960s Westerns, under the name “Bill Brimley.”

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