Source: @NEW YORK TIMES
By law, most Americans in the database don’t need to be asked for their permission — but the Papas should have been.
Another subject, who asked to be identified as J., is now a 15-year-old high school sophomore in Las Vegas. Photos of him as a toddler are in the MegaFace database, thanks to his uncle’s posting them to a Flickr album after a family reunion a decade ago. J. was incredulous that it wasn’t illegal to put him in the database without his permission, and he is worried about the repercussions.
In recent years, Ms. Kemelmacher-Shlizerman has sold a face-swapping image company to Facebook and advanced deep-fake technology by converting audio clips of Barack Obama into a realistic, synthetic video of him giving a speech. She is now working on a “moonshot project” at Google.
The New York Times found a security vulnerability that allows a Flickr user’s photos to be accessed even after they’ve been made private. (Scott Kinzie, a spokesman for SmugMug, which acquired Flickr from Yahoo in 2018, said the flaw “potentially impacts a very small number of our members today, and we are actively working to deploy an update as quickly as possible.” Ben MacAskill, the company’s chief operating officer, added that the Yahoo collection was created “years before our engagement with Flickr.”)
Additionally, some researchers who accessed the database simply downloaded versions of the images and then redistributed them, including a team from the University of Washington. In 2015, two of the school’s computer science professors — Ira Kemelmacher-Shlizerman and Steve Seitz — and their graduate students used the Flickr data to create MegaFace.
Containing more than four million photos of some 672,000 people, it held deep promise for testing and perfecting face-recognition algorithms.