Scan Your Face For Every Website You Visit


I wrote about the companies and organizations most likely to benefit from California's AB 2273, the "Age Appropriate Design Code" bill that the California legislature seems eager to pass (and which they refer to as the "Kid's Code" even though the details show it will impact everyone, and not just kids). The bill seemed to be getting very little attention, but after a few of my posts started to go viral, the backers of the bill ramped up their smear campaigns and lies -- including telling me that I'm not covered by it (and when I dug in and pointed out how I am... they stopped responding). But, even if somehow Techdirt is not covered (which, frankly, would be a relief), I can still be quite concerned about how it will impact everyone else.

But, the craziest of all things is that the "Age Verification Providers Association" decided to show up in the comments to defend themselves and insist that their members can do age verification in a privacy-protective manner. You just have to let them scan your face with facial recognition technology.

Really. [...]

But, more to the point, they're basically saying "don't worry, you'll just need to scan your face or ID for every website your visit." Normalizing facial scans does not seem particularly privacy protecting or reasonable. It seems pretty dystopian, frankly.

We've already just gone through this nonsense earlier this year when the IRS was demanding facial scans, and it later came out that -- contrary to claims about privacy and the high quality of the facial verification technology -- the technology was incredibly unreliable and the vendor in question's public claims about the privacy tools were bogus. [...]

This morning, they're in the comments again, trying (and failing) to defend this argument that it's nothing to worry about. When people point out that such a system can be gamed, they have an answer... "we'll just make you take a video of yourself saying phrases, too." I mean WHAT?

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11 Responses:

  1. Elusis says:

    Well this seems fine.

  2. Carlos says:

    My voice is my passport.  Identify me.


  3. prefetch says:

    Kids will be sneaking into their parents' room with their phone to scan their sleeping faces, just like their parents 'borrowed' their parents' credit cards for adult site subscriptions before them, just like their parents snuck out of bed to watch late night movies before them, just like their parents met at the old oak tree at midnight before them, just like their parents did something in black and white before them.

  4. db48x says:

    Do you plan on doing anything as a result of this law?

  5. Misty Jean says:

    "Grown men must live off milk because baby can't chew steak"

  6. CSL3 says:

    DMV photos from here on out:

  7. Dave says:

    The one cool thing about passwords is if hackers get a copy of it you can just make up a new one.  I assume they are recommending we always where a helmet in public so no one can take steal our face.  I'm not sure what the plan is if someone does take my picture.  Probably involves a 2x4.

  8. James says:

    In terms of justifications for dissolving privacy rights and civil liberties, I think 'think of the children' is pulling ahead of 'think of the terrorism.' The ever popular 'fraud prevention' is a workhorse, but just doesn't seem to be in the running.

    • joe luser says:

      true but "think of the children"  is waving the "human trafficking" banner these days.  because that's more inclusive and gets more funding. and then we don't have to actually think of those annoying children. see, for example, the three hundred and seventy six "human trafficking" cops at that texas elementary school. i have no idea what this law is about but i'll bet it's based on keeping kids from being "human trafficked"

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