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PimEyes owner insists on 'ethical use' of facial recognition search site – Biometric Update

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Giorgi Gobronidze, the owner of PimEyes, a face search website that uses an artificial intelligence-based facial recognition system to find people’s images around the web, says users of the website should be more ethical in the way they search for photos.

According to Gobronidze, “ethical use” of the photo search site means users have to search only for their own faces or faces of those who have given their consent for such searches, reports The New York Times (subscription required).

PimEyes has become quite popular as a facial recognition search engine, which helps people find photos of themselves that have been published online, in just a matter of seconds. The site captures results from blogs, news articles, wedding photo galleries, review sites or pornographic sites, but not from social media websites.

PimEyes, which has changed management since its creation in 2017, is now steeped in controversy with regard to how photo searches are conducted on the site. This is because there are said to be no specific or strong control mechanisms put in place by the firm to regulate the photo search process.

The article cites the example of Cher Scarlett, a computer engineer who came face to face with a bitter experience a couple of months ago, after finding photos of herself in circumstances she may not have loved to remember: photos of a pornography audition scene involving Scarlett years ago.

A search on PimEyes brought up the photos, with Scarlett saying she did not have the slightest imagination that they could be anywhere on the internet.

She narrates that as part of efforts to find a way of getting those photos off the net, she had to subscribe to PimEyes ‘PROtect plans’ where users can get undesired photos taken down from external links thanks to assistance from PimEyes help desk. This did not solve her problem either as the photos continued to pop up in further searches. Further, it costs between US$90 and $300 a month, leading Scarlett to brand it “extortion.”

In response to this, Gobronidze however tells The Times the site is built with other tools which can enable users to prevent their photos from being displayed on the website’s photo search index. Here, he mentions a free tool which can be used to delete search results from the PimEyes index, as well as an ‘opt-out’ feature which enables data to be taken off the site, including search results for facial images they want pulled down.

Scarlett eventually used the ‘opt-out’ feature and received an email from PimEyes in April which read “Your potential results containing your face are removed from our system.”

Despite this, the Times reveals that it tried a search of Scarlett’s face weeks later and found about 100 search results with her photos including some from the porn audition scene.

Gobronidze, in reaction to this, sustains that the ‘opt-out’ option does not prevent one’s face from being searched, but rather blocks photos with high level of similarity from PimEyes’ search results index. For this reason, in a blog post on the opt-out feature, the company advises those using it to submit “multiple opt-out requests with different photos.”

The company says more protections are in development, but will take time.

In the midst of this, experts in biometrics say they believe PimEyes has to do more than it is doing at the moment to enforce the ethical use of the facial recognition website, probably by requiring searchers to identify themselves either with government-issued IDs or through biometrics.

In an emailed reply to Biometric Update on this topic, John Gunn, CEO of Token, a biometric identification technology provider, wrote: “It is utterly disingenuous for PimEyes to claim they are doing their best to limit searches to only the individual requesting the search. They could simply require users to submit their driver’s license, passport, or other photo ID, verify this with a digital identity assurance provider such as Mitek or Jumio, and then use their own technology to limit the search.”

Gunn, whose expertise also includes wearables innovation and experience in digital identity, fraud prevention, and identity and access management, adds: “If banks can lend thousands of dollars on just a photo ID, PimEyes can easily adopt this inexpensive technology too. Their current approach is begging for government intervention and regulation.”

PimEyes announced the start of an affiliate program this month with the aim of increasing awareness for its facial recognition service.

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Bringing back brunch! – Gazette

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In the spirit of Come Home Year and all things nostalgic, Signal Hill Campus is bringing back brunch.

A collage of vintage Polaroid images of the inside and outside of the Battery Hotel on Signal Hill in St. John's.

Head up the hill this summer to revisit the former Battery Hotel and get the opportunity to visit the remodeled Emera Innovation Exchange.

The former Battery Hotel, which is now Memorial University’s Emera Innovation Exchange, has been an iconic structure overlooking the city of St. John’s since the 1960s. Its first iteration was a drive-in motel and gas bar.

If you have not yet had a chance to visit and are curious to see inside, you can stroll up the hill to experience a nostalgic Newfoundland and Labrador-style buffet brunch inside the beautiful conference hall.

Signal Hill Campus is positioned as an innovation and public engagement hub and a provincial resource. Newfoundland and Labrador’s Come Home Year is an excellent opportunity to re-introduce this dynamic space to the community and its potential to connect individuals both on-site and on-screen.

An illustrated image of Signal Hill Campus in a circle with orange in the top half and the words "Signal Hill Brunch" Memorial University Signal Hill Campus logo below.

An illustrated image of Signal Hill Campus in a circle with orange in the top half and the words "Signal Hill Brunch" Memorial University Signal Hill Campus logo below.Jordan Wright, director of operations, conference and event services at Signal Hill Campus, has been involved in the redevelopment project since Memorial purchased the former hotel in 2013 and is thrilled to host the special event.

Mr. Wright points to Memorial’s new strategic plan, Transforming Our Horizons, as a source of inspiration and welcoming the community to the space.

“Memorial’s new strategic plan places an emphasis on creating welcoming, open-door campuses and we really embrace that spirit here at Signal Hill Campus,” he said. “We’re looking forward to our Signal Hill brunch as a way to welcome the community, both residents and visitors, to our beautiful facilities here at the Emera Innovation Exchange.

“We’re delighted to partner with members of the Signal Hill Campus family, Red Oak Catering, Business & Arts Newfoundland and Labrador and the Johnson Geo Centre to celebrate our province and offer this throwback brunch at the Emera Innovation Exchange. Please join us for food, entertainment, and fun in July and August!”

For more information on the event, taking place on two dates, Sunday, July 31, and Sunday, Aug. 21, including the menu and how to purchase tickets, please visit online.

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OnePlus 10T design leaks – TrustedReviews

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The OnePlus 10T design has been leaked in full, with high quality renders outlining some interesting changes.

We’ve been hearing that a launch for the OnePlus 10 is back on the cards for several weeks now, which has clarified into news of a slightly more advanced OnePlus 10T.

Now tipster Steve Hemmerstoffer (more commonly known as @OnLeaks) has supplied detailed design renders and a 360-degree video to Smartprix.

The renders reveal a phone that follows the basic design template set out by the OnePlus 10 Pro (pictured above)earlier in the year, albeit with a plastic frame rather than the 10 Pro’s metal one. You still get a glass back, however.

As previously tipped, it seems the OnePlus 10T is going to do away with the signature OnePlus alert slider. We’re not going to lie, that’s a bit of a bummer.

These renders also confirm that the camera placement is going to be a little different within that familiar 2 x 2 configuration. The flash is moving up to the top right module. The camera module doesn’t merge with the frame this time around either.

We also get confirmation that the hole punch selfie camera is moving from the top left of the display (like on the 10 Pro) to the top-centre of the display (like a Samsung phone).

While the OnePlus 10T will be a downgrade from the OnePlus 10 Pro in the design stakes, it’s expected to come with a faster Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor. It could also have faster 150W charging (vs the 80W Pro), albeit with a slightly smaller 4800mAh battery.

Elsewhere we’re expecting to see a 6.7-inch FHD+ 120Hz OLED display. The camera system, meanwhile, is rumoured to feature a 50MP main sensor, a 16MP ultra-wide camera, and a 2MP macro. The selfie camera could be a 32MP unit.

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Quebec-area game devs are worrying about impact of new language laws – Game Developer

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A recently-passed law in the Canadian province of Quebec called “Bill 96” is starting to worry those in the local game development community. As several of them explain to the CBC, the law’s restrictions on access to English-language government resources might hurt development studios trying to hire international talent.

If you haven’t heard yet, Bill 96 is a piece of legislation that aims to mandate the use of the French language when accessing government services (with the exception of healthcare). 

Enforcement of the bill is complicated, because there are two groups of Quebec residents (“historic” English-speakers who were educated in English, and immigrants who’ve been in Quebec for less than six months) who are still allowed to access English-speaking services.

That means that on paper, game developers headed to Quebec from other regions or countries will have six months to get caught up on la langue Française after moving to the area. That’s not an easy task, made harder if they have to do so while helping build games with primarily English-speaking teams.

Bidding Quebec adieu

Some developers (like an anonymous one named “Remy”) told the CBC that they accepted employment at Quebec-area studios because they were told that learning French was “optional,” and that their coworkers would mostly be speaking English. He says that he knows several developers making plans to abandon the region.

Unity senior partner relations manager Osama Dorias (formerly of WB Games Montréal) explained that he’s been advising colleagues only to take jobs in the area if they speak French. “It’s like night and day. I shifted from being an advocate for people to move here, to warning people away,” he stated.

Even though many game developers pass through Montréal’s university system, Dorias says that they’re likely to leave the city if they get better offers from developers in the United States or Sweden.

The Guilde du jeu vidéo du Québec, a nonprofit organization representing Canadian studios, says that it supports the spirit of Bill 96 but is also worried about its impact. Representative Christopher Chancey told the CDC that the organization fears the bill’s passing will send a message to international game developers that other cultures aren’t welcome in the province.

The CBC has also reported on the broader tech industry’s worries over Bill 96.

It’s worth noting that Quebec-area game studios appear to have not previously emphasized the need to learn French among international hirees. Part of the issue being faced by game studios may be that they have not built up any services to help developers learn French despite it being the official business language of Quebec since 1977.

Francophonic conflict

The repercussions of Bill 96 are causing headaches for Quebec residents in all walks of life, as the bill also changes the rules for filing contracts, access to 311 services, and more. 

Developers not familiar with Quebec or other Francophone countries may not be aware of the cultural conflict that surrounds the French language. In both France and Quebec, many French speakers take extreme effort to allow the language to be overtaken by English language usage. These actions range from specialized language for video game industry terms (mostly harmless, also charming) to public condemnations of multiculturalism (possibly harmful, tacking too closely toward xenophobia).

Part of this conflict even manifested during revelations about allegations of abuse at Ubisoft’s Canadian studios. In 2020, associate producer Stephane Mehay was accused of refusing to speak English to some colleagues in order to exclude them from conversations. He even would allegedly insult them in French, thinking that they could not understand his words.

It isn’t fair to cast the English language as a victim in this scenario, (it’s still the most-spoken language in the world, only rivaled by Mandarin and Hindi). However, Canada’s game development boom over the last decade has been partly centered in the Montréal area, and such growth could be impacted if the region is unable to attract English-speaking talent.

The Guilde du jeu vidéo du Québec and other developers hope that the government will recognize the potential damage, and are open to the idea of extending the timeline for new immigrants to learn the French language. Hopefully the architects of Bill 96 will heed their warnings and work to adjust the impact on immigrants, rather than dictate a six-month timeline to learn a whole new language.

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