Word spread quickly Wednesday that Google was hard at work on facial recognition software and hopes to release it to mobile devices soon.

Combined with the recent inbox-scanning advertisements, the scandal with street-view vans, and many other severe-missteps, its clear the company, which started with modest but good intentions, has irrevocably lost its way.

The facial recognition software, currently without a timetable for release, would ostensibly allow users to take a photograph from their phones and check the unknown subject against major databases, such as Flickr and Facebook.

While these sites are already public, the ability to discover the identity of an unknown subject in the open is a new feature — and just the latest in a long line of moves by Google to completely eradicate privacy.

What’s privacy? I’m often asked why I desire online privacy. What do I have to hide?

The truth is, nothing. But I like the idea of my anonymity, and the ability to live free from electronic surveillance and cataloguing.

But former Google CEO Eric Schmidt actively admits that Google is against privacy.

“If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place,” Schmidt said at a developer conference.

Schmidt said in the future “true transparency and no anonymity” is the way forward for the internet: “In a world of asynchronous threats it is too dangerous for there not to be some way to identify you. We need a [verified] name service for people.

Schmidt foretold the software in 2009: “If I look at enough of your messaging and your location, and use artificial intelligence, we can predict where you are going to go. Show us 14 photos of yourself and we can identify who you are. You think you don’t have 14 photos of yourself on the internet? You’ve got Facebook photos!”

Earlier this week, Google also quietly informed users that ads in Gmail will now scan through a users inbox to see their interests, to better target the ads.

Got porn in your inbox? You’ll get porn ads. Match.com email? You’ll get more singles ads. So yeah, now your life targets how ads target you. And this feature? It’s out-opt, so you’re automatically in.

Google keeps everything. And while they likely don’t do much with the data, the fact remains that a company has in its servers a fairly complete catalogue of your life. The things you’ve bought online, the websites you’ve searched for. Your calendar if you use its service. Everything you’ve done for years, is at their fingertips.

And now, Google wants to make it easy for people to find you, just by taking your picture in the open — and using it as a key to your entire life.


About The Author

Jason Woods is a Blast staff writer

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