An app built for stalkers

By: Emily Fehrman / Opinion Page Editor

Well ladies and gents, welcome back to another semester at Hutchinson Community College. I hope everyone had a great break away from classes and campus. With that said, I’m jumping right in, folks.

So I was scrolling on Twitter when I saw a link to an article titled “Clearview AI app lets strangers find your name, info, all with a snap of a photo.”

My first thought being: “Uhm excuse me? No??”

If it were possible to find my personal information such as my name, and/or my address, all because they snapped a picture of me, I would be terrified. It would feel as if I’m losing one of the only senses of safety anonymity brings to my daily routines.

As disturbing as it sounds, it quite possibly could be in our future. Clearview AI has developed a facial recognition app that makes it much easier to find anyone online, but, in my opinion, I think that leaves a lot of people at major risk. The technology behind it is its facial recognition that combs through millions of sites/apps such as YouTube, Venmo, and Facebook.

Therefore, if any of your social media profiles aren’t private, you’re basically already in the database. Meaning it goes through over a three-billion-picture database to find you specifically.

As of right now, the app is used by more than 600 law enforcement agencies for things like identifying protestors. But that doesn’t mean it won’t be used for someone who spots a particularly beautiful stranger… then finding not only his or her name, what they do, who they know… but their address too?

However, I think if you find someone that all-consuming, you should just make some small talk rather than be an internet stalker, but maybe that’s just me.

Too many bad outcomes are possible, and very much so outweigh any benefits there could be. This could just make it easier for sexual predators, violent people, and stalkers to find their next target.

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