Facial recognition technology is increasingly becoming an important part of our everyday tech. Developed back in the 1960s, this technology is now not just limited to a few elite in the tech world rather it is available to the masses as well for instance facial unlock feature in smartphones.
With the ever-growing popularity of this technology, concerns about mass surveillance and the misuse of the facial recognition tools raise a massive question i.e. how can we protect our data?
Recently, Facebook, the social media giant also introduced facial recognition tools that can notify the users when someone posts a photo of them that they haven’t been tagged in. Though it is meant to be helpful, this tool is now a gold mine for personal data and unauthorized access provided to online algorithms to comb through your personal photos.
Looking at this massive problem, an Israeli based startup D-ID has developed tools to block algorithms from matching your photos and videos for the purpose of facial recognition in the digital world.
D-ID which stands for de-identification is working on a new trend of data protection which bears the same name “de-identification” that aims to protect the data that is being used for the authentication of a person and to stop any unauthorized person or machine to get to that data in the first place.
How Does It Work?
D-ID’s software works in a simple way; the system slightly changes the stored pictures of the user in question which can help him/her escape facial recognition algorithms. Now, these changes on its own are not visible to the human eye but the startup claims can block the snooping algorithms to leave your photos alone.
D-ID’s facial recognition solution will help out different companies that need to protect images of their employees or customers, health management organizations, and government and security agencies who want to keep the biometric data secure.
The Birth of the Idea
The startup was founded by Eliran Kuta, Gil Perry, and Sella Blondheim in 2016. Perry and Blondheim met when they were in the Israeli Special Forces and the idea for their startup took shape a decade ago when the two realized that they cannot share their pictures on the social media even after the completion of their service because of their sensitive positions.
The two also realized that many people in the security industry also cannot share their pictures on the internet from the fear of being recognized and thus they started their journey towards beating the facial recognition algorithms and scrambling its results.
Facial Recognition; A Hopeless Technology
Though we cannot ignore the security concerns, facial recognition is an invaluable technology in today’s world. Nowadays, computers can scan thousands of images in a small time frame which inevitably helps people to carry out a security check at an airport or identify a suspect wanted for a crime.
China has recently introduced smart sunglasses featuring facial recognition technology that can help the police to root out any potential criminals by tapping the live feed with the state’s database.
At the same time, in an age when our images and faces are so widely circulated on the internet thanks to social media, the facial recognition algorithms can open a way for malicious parties/hackers to replicate the user’s facial image to gain personal information or unauthorized access to their accounts.
Privacy is becoming non-existent as we are being recorded and photographed all the time through different CCTV cameras or any other sources. Looking at this scenario, it doesn’t hurt to protect one’s identity online to restore a sense of privacy.
D-ID has closed out a seed round of $4 million. The startups was a Y Combinator cohort and now is planning to start a pilot with Cloudinary, a technology company that manages 15 billion cloud-based images and videos for web and mobile developers.