How dangerous is PimEyes?
A Polish company is currently abolishing anonymity, which is what the so-called PimEyes search engine stands for. The potential for abuse concerns more than 900 million faces. Anyone whose photo is on the Internet can become part of the database. It is virtually a kind of "reverse search engine" for faces. With it, virtually all types of images can be found retroactively and free of charge. The search engine PimEyes uses the Internet to analyze masses of faces. These are stored using the biometric data and stored with the individual characteristics.
PimEyes as a dangerous search engine
There is no doubt that PimEyes is a dangerous search engine that comprehensively interferes with the user's anonymity and is therefore considered illegal. Even a snapshot is sufficient for this, because even with it, strangers can be identified immediately. Although the name of the person searched for is not directly supplied by the search engine, matches are quickly found and the websites are directly displayed. There are then further details, such as profession or name. Virtually anyone who shows their face in a public place can be recognized. This can be either at the bus stop, in a polling station or at a demonstration. So, thanks to this dubious search engine, everyone wears their name directly on their forehead. This is guaranteed to lead to abuse.
The situation was very similar recently with the US company Clearview. In contrast, however, the Polish search engine offers biometric searches not only for the authorities, but for the entire public. This is happening despite the fact that most people are clearly opposed to such facial recognition. Unfortunately, the enormous potential for abuse is the main focus here. YouTube and Instagram provide the ideal basis for this. Data protection experts are also sounding the alarm. There are major violations of the European General Data Protection Regulation.
From now on face is shown
In this way, each person literally shows his or her face. Not only that, but also other details, such as profession, are mentioned. Anyone leading a double life then no longer has a chance. Even those who are on the road with a pseudonym will be found. This is no longer a problem with the face search. Every day, more than a terabyte of photos is added, and the database keeps growing. Nevertheless, the company is now entangled in many contradictions, there are very questionable passages in the online offers. Compared to Google, PimEyes delivers significantly more results in the image search.
According to the GDPR, it is prohibited to use biometric data for the identification of a natural person. The company argues against this. Allegedly, this is not about identifying a person, but about the user himself uploading his own face there.
PimEyes acts as a helper
The company does not see itself as a threat to privacy, but as a helper. Allegedly, anyone should be able to find out where their face appears on the Internet. However, how PimEyes wants to take action against possible stalkers remains unanswered. Allegedly, it should only be able to detect fake profiles. The image and reputation drop drastically. Facial recognition in combination with artificial intelligence is not well received. The alarm is often raised, even though it is not necessary. A premium subscription is advised anyway. This means that a message is immediately sent by email when various matches are detected with a new uploaded photo. There is even supposedly a corresponding discount for mass queries.
The photo reverse search carries numerous risks
For the digital world, PimEyes is unmistakably an enormous weapon, the tool plays right into the hands of criminals as a search engine. The reverse search with the photos has many disadvantages. Numerous photos from social media are automatically analyzed, even online contacts are collected. Therefore, numerous social platforms are abused accordingly. It is a direct violation of the right to one's own image. That identification with the search engine works is beyond question. The accuracy of hits is high. Thus, the photo search engine is suitable as an ideal surveillance technology for the state, including facial recognition by the police. Many fear arrest if they have been recognized and identified by the online search engine at a demonstration. Therefore, PimEyes should not be underestimated when used against demonstrations. Not only in China, but also in Moscow, such facial recognition has now become a reality in everyday life.