A man in front of a computer (illustration) - Damian Dovarganes / AP / SIPA

Privacy advocates on the Internet are concerned about potential abuses. The Polish search and facial recognition program PimEyes claims 6,000 registered users worldwide since its creation in 2017. After uploading a single photo of an individual, this tool searches for all the other photos of this person on the whole web.

The device explores for this the portals accessible to the public like blogs, information sites or photographic portals like Tumblr, explains an article of the BBC of Thursday June 11.

25 photos possible with the premium offer

The creators of PimEyes present their search engine as a free digital tool to combat the malicious use of self-pictures. But the program can also be used to find images of a third party on the web. It also offers a premium offer that allows you to enter up to 25 different shots in the software and to be alerted when new photos of these individuals are posted. 350 users are currently subscribed to this service.

Engine officials say they are not extending their search to images posted on social media, contrary to what the BBC believes they discovered. "If you find faces posted on Facebook, that means that someone has put them online elsewhere," says one at PimEyes. The company also highlights its privacy regulations and states that "any tool can be used improperly".

Concerns of privacy advocates

However, privacy advocates fear the misuse of this technology. The latter "makes possible government surveillance, monitoring for commercial purposes and even harassment on a scale previously unimaginable," Big Brother Watch warns.

The head of the British NGO, Silkie Carlo, believes that “it is frightening to see this powerful surveillance technology marketed to individual users. It's perfect for harassment and it puts women and children at risk like never before. ”

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