Welcome to 1984!

FindFace is a facial recognition app developed by two Russians that boasts a 70 percent reliability rate.

Why is such an app necessary?

According to the creators using social media proiles it can help find missing people, your friends, or men or women that look like actors. In the case of the ersatz-famous you can send them a friend request and ask for a date. Talk about harassment?!
"It works by comparing photographs to profile pictures on Vkontakte, a social network popular in Russia and the former Soviet Union, with more than 200 million accounts. In the future, the designers imagine a world where people walking past you on the street could find your social network profile by sneaking a photograph of you, and shops, advertisers and the police could pick your face out of crowds and track you down via social networks.
          In the short time since the launch, Findface has amassed 500,000 users and processed nearly 3m searches."
Harassment is exactly what has been reported by The Guardian. It has become a problem in Russia with trolls sending threatening messages to sex workers outing them to their families and stalking them online. But that's just sex workers, you say?

Think about it: “Three million searches in a database of nearly 1 billion photographs: that’s hundreds of trillions of comparisons, and all on four normal servers. With this algorithm, you can search through a billion photographs in less than a second from a normal computer,” said one of the creators during an interview at the company’s modest central Moscow office."

But don't worry, this app can also be used for shopping (apparently the only requirement, besides pubic safety, to make any app legitimate). A store camera takes a picture of you looking at those Jimmy Choos and suddenly you get bombarded with shoe ads. How convenient.

Some Russians are concerned with how popular this app has become in a country not known for its privacy laws. Currently, FindFace cannot access Facebook's image database, but that's just because they haven't figured out how to ... yet.

Maybe the bigger concern in an age when everyone has chucked their privacy in support of  some form of social media, FindFace seems inevitable. Wanna date an actor, upload your favorite celebrity's photo and you'll get a dozen suggestions based on looks alone. How about uploading sneaky photos because you think you have spotted a criminal? Doesn't that guy at the next table look like an armed robber or that woman at the counter a purse snatcher?

What do you think about being monitored in EVERY public space?


  1. This article seems scary. You can locate someone from a crowd and search them and find everything out about them. It does all seem very big brother-ish. I loved the book ans a work of science fiction but actually having to live in a world where you are constantly being watched is actually kind of terrifying. I guess it would help police officers find fugitives. But for normal people to find other normal people seems like a huge invasion of privacy. I would feel like i was constantly being watched and would not feel safe because people could be taking pictures and trying to steal my identity by what they find online about me.

  2. Privacy is becoming more restrictive as apps like these are used to monitor people. It is considered an inalienable right in many countries. Whether the original intention was harmless, there is always a way to use it maliciously. This puts sensitive information at risk as it's not being used as someone agreed to in the terms and conditions. Being monitored for what I buy is not a assuring way to consider giving up my private information to apps only to be bombarded with ads.

  3. The book nineteen eighty four is a book that basically describes how our future will be. In our future, there would be cameras everywhere that watches everything that we do. This is actually becoming the case, especially with modern day technology. It is very scary that we are getting watched at pretty much all times. It is hard to feel safe because there is now a lack of privacy. There are several pros and cons to this issue. Some pros are that the criminals can easily be identified and locked up to keep the streets safer. Also,it can help find missing people.

  4. The dystopian novel 1984 highlights the idea of what could happen if we give the government too much power over our privacy. However, in this day and age, it does not seem our privacy will be primary violated by the government but by advertiser and regular people. Even now, people on twitter take pictures of aesthetically pleasing strangers without their permission. Not to mention famous people who are bombarded by photos being taken of them.

    The app seems like it will be more in secret as the pictures are being taken, but I do not know if it will be as welcomed as people think. Ignoring the spam mail, people would not like the violation of privacy regardless of the greater good it could do. Even now, people cover the camera on their camera with a sticky note. Even though we are the selfie generation, we are paranoid on who could be watching.

  5. The app creators seem like that they had good intentions for the use of the app from the launch but people will always find a way to use something good against you in a negative way. Being monitored everywhere you go is an invasion of privacy is quite creepy. Knowing that someone knows everywhere you go get lead to actual stalkers and not just online ones. I think this app should be shutdown because it can do more harm than good.

  6. There has been a gradual buildup to this generation where our privacy is merely an illusion. After 9/11, The Patriot Act opened up virtually any avenue of monitoring a person that law enforcement has available to them, from the Federal to local level. As long as they can slap "terrorist" onto that warrant, they have access to any means necessary to keep tabs on you. The monitoring in public spaces sets up a digital dragnet for anyone and everyone. It's gonna be really difficult to play hide and seek with big brother.

    As with anything else, it has it legitimate purposes. A robot has been deployed at the Stanford Shopping Center, scanning license plans, recording everyone's every move and dodging pedestrians as they stroll from shop to shop. While I don't like the idea of constant public monitoring, there's also the reason why the robot was invented. If this, or a similar device, would have been present at Sandy Hook Elementary School on the day of the fatal shooting, it could have saved an estimated twelve lives by increasing the response time of the local law enforcement.

    Why can't we just hire more police officers? The proponents of such technology will talk about how the robot essentially has super powers of accurate recording devices, can scan license plates at a superhuman level, and can access databases on the spot to alert of a public threat. I would say "boo" to this whole venture, but there's no putting the robot back in the box. It's out of the box and putting it back into the box is not likely to happen now.

    I find myself in a bind with this scenario. Seeing the active shooter situation in America being what it is, 23 shootings on college campuses in 2015, I have to consider my prioritizing my safety over my privacy and that sucks, but that's the rub. If I were to choose between arming our college students and professors and having a couple of silly looking robots on campus, that are more likely to keep an active shooter from killing a few more innocent people, I'm gonna choose the silly robot that violates all of our privacy. When they deploy the drones to monitor us from the skies, then we know we've crossed over into the next chapter of our Brave New World.

  7. Before you go to college they tell you that you're going to have to be on a budget, but what they don't tell you is how little that budget is and how broke you're going to be all the time. Number one didn't really affect me because I was lucky enough to have parents who understood that I needed to have good food and not the stuff they serve at the DC. And since I had groceries in my house I did a lot of late-night binging because I was up five out of the seven days doing homework that I had procrastinated on. Because I'm not really the type to ask my parents for money I decided second-quarter that it was time to get a job. And then that's when I really became broke because I stopped asking them for money. Top Ramen became my best friend and so did this 30 pounds I gained .College and dorming more specifically is an Experience I would suggest that everyone try at least once. I love it and I'm glad that I chose this option even though it comes with a lot of stress

  8. The initial idea of this app is very interesting and could be useful if say, you saw a picture of someone who was missing and could look that person up and report them as no longer missing. The constant monitoring could also help prevent crimes before they occur, like if someone was acting very suspicious and unusually.

    Another side to the constant monitoring is that people may feel uncomfortable and may end up acting unnaturally because the mere presence of a camera is enough to make one act a bit out of character, maybe more exaggerated than usual. I do agree with the notion that if we are constantly monitored then we could be more safe, however, with this much access to people's private life and info, it could be easily misused. There could be identity theft or harassment, which already occurs often since many leave their profiles on the media open to the public or put out tons of information about their daily life.
    An app like this should be allowed to exist but not open to the public and only used by perhaps police or officials if they are trying to catch criminals or find missing people.

  9. Now in the era where everything can be posted online for the world to see, we have a new program that can detect faces by you taking a picture of that person and running it through the program to find out every detail about them. Some might say that it’s not such a big difference to what we already have now, through Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc.. but that’s the thing though, people choose what to post and let the world know by using those apps. They aren’t sharing information that they want to keep hidden. They post and share what they want. That’s the biggest difference between the social media app that we already have and the russian app, FindFace. Of course there are some benefits using the face detecting app. You can find out more about the cute girl that was sitting across from you at the cafe or find out if the sketchy guy in the corner is a criminal. But in my opinion, this app can also promote stalking as well. Strangers taking candid photos of you without your knowledge so they can run your face through the program is such a frightening thought. You would be afraid everywhere you go. You would be paranoid and suspicious about everything. But if we think about it, how can we be sure the government hasn’t gotten their hands on this type of program yet?

  10. With the technology nowadays I know that I am constantly being monitored. When I think about all the possible ways I can be watched it freaks me out.This app seems to be a nice way to connect with other people. But like any social media accounts the ability for people to constantly know what you are doing, and where you are is scary. It is incredibly scary to know that anyone can find you. Just thinking about all the possible people that can see me is uncomfortable. Personally, social media accounts promote unwanted attention from dangerous people.

  11. Daniela Velasco
    This blog really caught my attention because in today's society social media has become so popular, even inevitable for some people such as famous Hollywood stars. It's as if nobody really has any privacy and really did remind me of the book "1984" in which the government had access to everybodys personal information. Being monitored in everything you do should in some manner startle people, but I feel they don't really seem to realize the great importance of what privacy is. They fail to realize that all these great technological advances lead to so many disadvantages to their own privacy. For instance, getting a new iPhone, what if the company where everything was monitored was hacked.The technological industry has become so complex that it would be easy for something like in the book 1984 to happen. This is all somewhat related to the Russians app who most definitely does invade people privacy and is in some manner stalking people, which is somewhat harassment.
    Even though social media can be some what negative to peoples privacy it also can serve people in well being such as they did in finding peoples faces in order to find missing children or even criminals, however the way technology is used is not controlled so it can be used just as bad as it can be good. It amazes me how far technology has gotten and how far it will get, i just hope government officials and even people themselves make good use of it instead of bad. as for social media, be careful what you say or post because someone maybe always watching you.


  12. Martha Mendez

    The creators of this app had a brilliant idea that allowed people to find missing friends or loved ones, but that app also allowed harassment through social networks and the violation of the fourth amendment rights. This app can also allow any human being to track you down through social media. Will you be vulnerable to be track down by a stranger? Would you like to be harassed by people you don't know? In my opinion, I would not like to be tracked down on social media by a stranger or would like to be harassed. In my opinion this app would only create a problem for society and violate the rights of humans to privacy. I know that I would not like my personal business to be put out on social media for the whole world to know and that's why I do not find this app beneficial. This app can create problems because it can allow a stranger to abduct you because of what you posted on social media. This app can eliminate the security of people by making them more vulnerable to predators.

    However in today's society we are already being monitored so I don't really think this app would be beneficial. We as humans already have a lot of surveillance when walking outside our homes and I don't think we need more. On our everyday lives we are already being monitored by cameras on the street and on schools and in stores. I think that security is already enough in our country to the extent where we don't need no more. Even though the app can be beneficial to find love ones it can also create more lost ones and conflicts. We as a society already have enough resources to find someone if they were to be missing and we don't need more security. We as humans need privacy and don't want that taken away from us.

  13. Whoever made this app had good intentions to my knowledge. But It is just so scary to see this happening. It is just like the book 1984, I read this book in highschool and it did not occur to me how close we are to achieving a break in our privacy. It makes me paranoid knowing that somehow 'big brother' is there watching every move I make, every thing I search and every call I dial.

  14. Even though the makers of the app might be trying to help people find their missing loved ones and trying to search crimes done by people, this app is clearly a invasion of privacy. People who are in favor of this app do not really understand what is it. This app allows any person, more importantly the government to search where you and what are you doing at any given time by a simple picture. There is already too much surveillance right now and in having this app, we will have to sacrifice our very basic right to be private. This app, like every strategic resource, will be misused by the government and ultimately lead to misery. I am not totally against surveillance and security, but how much do we really need. This app will eliminate every type of privacy that we barely have right now. The government already knows where we go and what we do online and who we talk, but being tracked at the present moment is sacrificing to much of our freedom.

  15. The creators of the app obviously had good intentions but it’s hard to believe that they didn’t expect breaches of privacy to happen. It’s unfair that people cannot opt out of having their faces recognized with someone else. Their app encourages strangers to take and saving pictures of any individuals whom they find attractive. This situation is worse when pedophilic individuals and extreme stalkers have access to this app and can use it as an excuse to take pictures of unwitting targets. We wouldn’t be able to distinguish stalkers from a regular app user when everyone is snapping photos and using “Facefind”. I am already uneasy about the various street cameras and government’s ability to track my location via GPS. I wouldn’t want any regular stranger on the street taking photos of me without my permission even with an excuse such as “Oh, I was just using Facefind.”

  16. This app is beyond scary. It seems to cause lots of trouble. Someone can just snap shot a photo of me without me noticing and finding me. That seems very odd. This app seems more frighting then helpful. this is like on another level of being a stalker. Their app encourages people to take photos of someone. We wouldn't be able to find the difference between be normal persona versus someone who is using the app "FaceFind". And once it goes global, because it seems very limited right now, then it is going to be much worse.I do not think this app will pass in the United States because here there are to many laws that seem to contradict with the app. That the user using the app can get into some serious trouble. So this app maybe be illegal to use. Well at least I hope so. I do not want the excuse of "I was only using the FaceFind App".

  17. 1984 was the best book I ever read in high school. It is a story set in a dystopian world where there is no such thing as privacy or individuality with their world becoming a kind where nobody can think for themselves. It opened my eyes to how much of our rights are being abused and if continued could lead us to living in our own 1984. This app is one of those things that is abusing our right, or specifically the people in Russia for now. The app is causing more good than harm with the facial recognition component that will never leave an individual in peace. Anyone, including the government, can find out where a person is and what they are doing giving them more power over that specific person than they should have. The fact that is so big with social media makes it even worse since there is bound to be an increase of users even with all the warnings. There needs to be more laws that will restrict these types of creations for the general public.

  18. This app worries me in multiple ways, and it does remind me a lot of Orwell's 1984. For one, I think it is highly unnecessary. People don't need to snap a photo of someone just to stalk them behind a screen, people need to learn to communicate face-to-face again. Furthermore, the use of this in stores to flood more advertisements over consumers is annoying, and people will catch on very quickly. The only way I see this app being useful is for law enforcement, in order to put a name to a face. I think such an app should only be used for law enforcement; giving the public access to an app like this seems creepy and unnecessary. Not to mention there are privacy issues that come about from apps like these: yes, most people do have a social media and they post on it a lot, but a significant majority of these users like to keep their posts private so that only their friends or families can see. Not a stranger. Overall, I do not support the creation or use of apps like FindFace.


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