A New Google Group Uses Facial Recognition Technology To Out Looters

According to London’s Metropolitan Police, this young lady had just looted a stereo store.

[credit provider=”flirkr/Metropolitan Police” url=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/metropolitanpolice/6024941771/in/photostream”]

A new Google Group called “London Riots Facial Recognition” emerged online in the wake of the London riots in an effort to identify the perpetrators.The group’s reported aim is to use tools similar to Facebook’s photo recognition to identify the looters who appear on photos of the riots on the web. 

The first discussion in the group was started by the user ‘Syd Lawrence’, and is followed up by other discussions focusing on accessing the code “Application Programming Interface” (API) for different sites to cropping specific images.

However, the most important discussion in the Google Group centres on the legality and ethical challenges of doing “facial recognition”, an issue that has led Facebook to receive much criticism and possible investigation from US government officials. Two of the discussions are titled “Ethical Issues” and “Keeping Things Legal.” The latter  thread includes a question that asks, “Get police backing?”

As of this post, the group was still in the early stages on which steps to take in order to begin ‘facial recognition.’