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About Me

  • Hello you. I'm a 38-year old MSc student, studying Advanced Computer Science at Sussex University. I'm especially interested in Internet and mobile software, sensors and pervasive computing, user interfaces, and the process of developing great software.

    Before that I spent 11 years running Future Platforms, a software company I co-founded which makes lovely things for mobile phones, and which I sold in 2011.

    I read a lot, write here, and practice Aikido and airsoft. I live in Brighton, a seaside town on the south coast of the UK, with two cats and a clown.


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  • Email me:
    twhume at gmail dot com
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October 31, 2005


Vikram Aggarwal

Hi Tom,

If I follow you correctly, a photographic Shazam-like service would work like this: a person would see someone out in the park, hold out a camera-equipped mobile device and take a photo, have the photo transmitted to a server, the face recognized and the details on that person sent back via SMS, all within seconds, like Shazam does for music. Sounds spooky, doesn't it? This might be awesome for police forces but who'd want to have that done by other people on him/her? There seems to be a conflict between giving users the power to auto-tag other people in their photos, and breaching the privacy of those other people.
You may want to look at (the company where I work). It also uses face recognition (and there is a demo on the site you can try out to test face recognition), but it's done in a different approach. As I see it there are 3 main uses for face recognition on consumer photos: finding a name for a face ('who is this?'), finding a face for a name ('what does he/she look like?') and finding similar people for a face ('who looks like me?'). At MyHeritage, which is a family history and genealogy community site, the focus is on finding a name for a face in your own photos (auto-tagging your photos based on your photos), or in other peoples' photos if the faces involved belong to people no longer alive -- this allows users to find their ancestors in other users' photos. It's also possible to find similar-looking people which is good for finding relatives. Privacy concerns are reduced because of privacy settings that are in place for each photo and the additional meta-data that stores whether a person is alive or deceased (for deceased people there are usually less privacy concerns). What do you think?


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