This social experiment will destroy any thoughts you have about privacy in the digital age.
Is there such thing as privacy in the digital age? Edward Snowden became a wanted fugitive in the U.S. after exposing that the NSA is already spying on citizens. But what about to ordinary folks with no hacking skills – is it possible to keep details of oneself private in the modern world? A social experiment conducted by 21-year-old Russian photography and art student Egor Tsvetkov will have you concluding “no” after you learn about the scandalous – albeit genius – project he developed to determine just this.
Intrigued by the fact that nearly everyone takes selfies and uploads them to social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram, the Russian photographer decided to launch a project entitled “Your Face is Big Data.”
To begin with, he developed a facial recognition app called FindFace. Then, he quietly took about 100 photos of strangers on the subway. Recalling the process, he said:
“The people did not react in any way, although I was quite obviously photographing them.”
Then came the main step. Tsvetkov put the photos into FindFace to determine if it could identify the people he had taken pictures of on Russia’s mains social media site VKontakte. Lo and behold, it did extremely well. The mastermind was able to identify approximately 70% of the people he photographed, even though many of them looked drastically different in real life than they did in the photos.
The takeaway? Egor says,
“My project is a clear illustration of the future that awaits us if we continue to disclose as much about ourselves on the internet as we do now.”
The full project can be found here, and a sampling of the photos taken on the subway and found on social media follow:
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