Face Biometrics May Show Your SS Number

Wednesday, August 3, 2011
By Paul Martin

HomelandSecurityNewswire.com
3 August 2011

Researchers demonstrate ability to predict social security numbers from people’s faces; “When we share tagged photos of ourselves online, it becomes possible for others to link our face to our names in situations where we would normally expect anonymity,” one of the researchers said

It is possible to identify strangers and gain their personal information — perhaps even their social security numbers — by using face recognition software and social media profiles, according to a new study by Carnegie Mellon University’s Alessandro Acquisti and his research team. The results of the study will be presented 4 August at Black Hat, a security conference in Las Vegas.

“A person’s face is the veritable link between her offline and online identities,” said Acquisti, associate professor of information technology and public policy at the Heinz College and a Carnegie Mellon CyLab researcher. “When we share tagged photos of ourselves online, it becomes possible for others to link our face to our names in situations where we would normally expect anonymity.”

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