Face search engine PimEyes will block searches for children

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PimEyes, a search engine that allows users to identify people in photos using facial recognition, will block searches for minors. The company does this after an article by The New York Times about how such services can endanger children.

PimEyes will use a detection system to recognize and block searches for children’s faces, writes The New York Times. CEO Giorgi Gobronidze tells the daily that the agency has taken ‘technical measures’ to block such orders as part of a ‘no harm’ policy. PimEyes still allows human rights organizations to search for the faces of minors if they are concerned with children’s rights, the CEO says.

The service uses ‘artificial intelligence’ to block children’s searches. An algorithm estimates the age of the person in the search query to identify minors. According to the PimEyes CEO, this works well for children under the age of fourteen, but it still has ‘accuracy problems’ with teenagers. The system would also have identification problems if the child was not photographed from a certain angle. The service says it is currently still perfecting the detection system.

The New York Times tested the system by searching for a photo of child stars Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. It blocked the search for the twins looking straight into the camera. The search for the other twin, who was in the photo from the side, was carried out successfully. Dozens of other photos of the child star were shown, including links to the websites where they were published.

According to Gobronidze, blocking children’s faces has been ‘on the roadmap since 2021’, but was only recently introduced, shortly after an article from The New York Times about the dangers of AI for children, actually implemented. PimEyes is officially intended to look up the user’s face and thus find unknown photos on the internet. However, until recently there were no technical measures to ensure that users only look up their own face.

PimEyes has been used by parents to find unknown photos of their own children on the Internet, according to the NYT. However, the service can also be used by strangers. The agency previously removed “more than 200 accounts” for inappropriate searches of children’s faces, Gobronidze told the American newspaper. “Images of children can be used by individuals with distorted moral compass and values, such as pedophiles and child molesters,” the CEO acknowledges.

PimEyes is a paid search engine that can identify people in photos using facial recognition. Users can scan a person in a photo and then see other photos with that person in them, if they are on the Internet.

Source: PimEyes

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