This is one of those 21st century issues that’s probably going to come up repeatedly, as we struggle with the new powers of technology.

Campus Reform reports:

UCCS secretly took photos of hundreds of students in facial recognition study

Over 1,700 photographs were taken of completely unaware college students for an ongoing study on facial recognition.

Facial recognition researchers obtained these photos at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs (UCCS) without their permission, according to the Colorado Springs Independent. The study, which began in 2012, was conducted by Professor Terrance Boult, who had mounted a camera to a building in an area of heavy foot traffic to capture images of passing students.

The study’s mission was to test if the facial recognition algorithms could detect faces in longer distances and varying lighting. Once the images were collected, researchers sorted them by individual, with each collection of photos detailing a single person with a variety of outfits from separate days.

This collection created a dataset called “UnConstrained College Students,” which is being used for training facial recognition algorithms and surveillance tools. The collection of this data was funded, at least in part, by U.S. military and intelligence agencies.

“The Brave New World, Aldous Huxley, is here,” Boult said, referencing Huxley’s well-known dystopian novel, according to the Independent.

As Boult pointed out, it is not technically illegal to take photos of people in public. The collection and use of the photos, however, has raised ethical concerns regarding privacy. Most of the subjects whose photographs were taken were unaware that they have been put in the dataset.


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.