When hackers are exploited a bug in Speak for download all content from the right social media platform last week, they were surprised to find that many photos and videos contained geolocation metadata revealing exactly how many users of the site had took part in the invasion of the US Capitol building a few days before. But the videos uploaded to Parler also contain a wealth of equally sensitive data for all to see: thousands of images of unmasked faces, many of which participated in the Capitol Riot. Now a website has done the job of cataloging and publishing each of these faces in one easy-to-navigate range.
Late last week, a website called Faces of the Riot popped up online, showing nothing but a vast grid of over 6,000 images of faces, each labeled only with a string associated with it. the Talking video she appeared in. The site’s creator tells WIRED that he used simple open-source machine learning and facial recognition software to detect, extract, and deduplicate every face of the 827 videos that were posted to Speak From Inside and Out. of the Capitol building on January 6. day when radicalized Trump supporters stormed the building in a riot that resulted in the deaths of five people. The creator of Faces of the Riot says his goal is to make it easy for anyone to sort through the faces taken from these videos to identify someone they know or recognize who participated in the crowd, or even to reference the faces collected. against the posters wanted by the FBI. and tip law enforcement if they spot someone.
“Anyone who participates in this violence, which really amounts to an insurgency, must be held responsible,” said the creator of the site, who requested anonymity to avoid reprisals. “It is entirely possible that many people who were on this website now are facing real consequences for their actions.”
Aside from the clear privacy concerns it raises, Faces of the Riot’s indiscriminate display of faces fails to distinguish between offenders – who stomped on barriers, broke into the Capitol building, and entered legislative chambers – and people who simply attended protests outside. An update to the site today adds hyperlinks from faces to the video source, so visitors can click on any face and see what the person was filmed doing on Speak. The creator of Faces of the Riot, who is said to be a student in the “greater DC area,” intends this additional functionality to help contextualize the inclusion of each face on the site and to differentiate viewers, peaceful protesters and violent insurgents.
He admits that he and a co-creator are still working to cleanse the faces of “non-rioters”, including those of the police and the press who were present. A post at the top of the site also warns against vigilance investigations, instead suggesting that users report those they recognize to the FBI, with a link to an FBI advice page. “If you go to the website and see someone you know, you could learn more about a parent,” he says. “Or you could be like, oh, I know this person, and then pass that information on to the authorities.”
Despite its disclaimers and limitations, Faces of the Riot represents the serious privacy dangers of ubiquitous facial recognition technology, says Evan Greer, campaign manager for the nonprofit for civil liberties digital Fight For the Future. “Whether used by an individual or by the government, this technology has profound implications for human rights and freedom of expression,” says Greer, whose organization fought for a legislative ban facial recognition technologies. “I think it would be a huge mistake if we came out of this moment glorifying or glorifying a technology that in general disproportionately harms communities of color, low income communities, immigrant communities. , Muslim communities, activists … the same people the faces on this website have stormed into the Capitol in an attempt to silence and deprive their votes. “