IBM took almost one million photos of Flickr, used them to discover how to train the facial recognition training programs and shared them with outside researchers. But as NBC points out, the people photographed on Flickr did not consent to their photos being used to develop facial recognition systems, and they may not be, considering that those systems could be used to monitor and recognize them.
While photographers may have obtained permission to take photographs of these people, some told NBC that the people photographed did not know that their images had been recorded with facial recognition notes and that they could be used to train algorithms.
"None of the people I photographed had any idea that their images were being used in this way," one photographer told NBC.
The photos were not originally compiled by IBM, by the way, they are part of a larger collection of 99.2 million photos, known as YFCC100M, which the former owner of Flickr, Yahoo, created to conduct an investigation. All photos were shared with a Creative Commons license, which is usually a sign that they can be used freely, with some limitations.
But the fact that they can be used to train facial recognition systems to identify by ethnicity, for example, may not be a use that even the most permissible Creative Commons licenses anticipated. It is not a completely theoretical example: IBM made a video analysis product that used body cameras to discover the races of people. IBM denied that it would "participate in jobs that involve racial profiling," he told NBC.
It is also worth noting that IBM's original intentions may have been rooted in preventing artificial intelligence from being predisposed to certain groups, although when it announced the collection in January, the company explained that it needed such a large data set to help train "fairness" "As well as accuracy.
Either way, it is difficult for the average person to verify if their photos were included and request that they be removed, since IBM keeps the data set private from anyone who is not conducting academic or corporate research NBC obtained the data set from a different source and made a tool within their article for photographers to check if their Flickr user names have been included in the IBM collection However, that does not necessarily help people who were photographed if they are not interested in participating.
IBM is so one of several companies that explore the field of facial recognition and is not the only one that uses photos of normal people without explicitly asking for their consent. Facebook, for example, has photos of 800,000 faces open for other researchers to download.