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Get verified and explore Fet Life's new facial recognition system.

There is a reason why Facebook and many others have stopped doing this. Facial recognition systems harm people in the community. But face recognition, the technology behind these features, is more than just a gimmick. It is employed for law enforcement surveillance, airport passenger screening, and employment and housing decisions. Despite widespread adoption, face recognition was recently banned for use by police and local agencies in several cities, including Boston and San Francisco. Why? Of the dominant biometrics in use (fingerprint, iris, palm, voice, and face), face recognition is the least accurate and is rife with privacy concerns. Police use face recognition to compare suspects’ photos to mugshots and driver’s license images; it is estimated that almost half of American adults – over 117 million people, as of 2016 – have photos within a facial recognition network used by law enforcement. This participation occurs without consent, or even awareness, and is bolstered by a lack of legislative oversight. Face recognition empowers a law enforcement system with a long history of racist and anti-activist surveillance and can widen pre-existing inequalities. I do not support this as part of Fet Life and it will out others as not even credit card companies are safe from getting hacked. This is a bad idea and bad for the global community to participate with.

Even Apple has backed down on its controversial photo-scanning plans. Apple would have deployed to everyone’s phone a CSAM-scanning feature that governments could, and would, subvert into a surveillance tool to make Apple search people’s phones for other material as well. It seems FetLife has not paid attention to the privacy concerns and negative outcomes that are possible from this.

Fet's process involves creating an identity file that associates to you or verifies to the person one hundred percent. That file is shared with FetLife's machine learning algorithms and used as a keystone reference for any other picture it associates with you. At the present time multiple FetLife employees check the file which provides multiple examples to the machine learning algorithms. That file is the first step in the facial recognition system that could be sold, utilized, or hacked and stolen. That in itself creates the problem. Likely they are allowing another agency to run a facial recognition system as they are created in this way. This basically is the first step and it's potential negative outcomes outweigh a verify feature.

Consequently, FetLife should be a safer place for everyone to explore their sexuality, and this will be achieved only if the members themselves make FetLife safer. The company is focused on analytics that are a value to them. The communities have to look at this and ask if this is really a value to us. This is company directive that puts the people more at risk and a step backwards. We still have to do safety checks before meeting people. We still have vet new people coming to events. Let's have the company talk about the negative consequences of this change because this has neatly been glossed over. I am really disappointed that Fetlife did not learn from other tech companies who could not turn away from how this technology was impacting it's community any longer.

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Joseph Crown

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