Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Police Using Flickr to Nab London Rioters; Facebook Next?

What about Google's Goggles? Remember the scary technology that would allow users to take a photo of a person's face and get personal information about him/her? This raised questions about privacy rights and the company is supposedly still attempting to resolve these issues before roll out. One can readily see the problems posed by an app that allows any person to take one's photo in a public place and get every bit of information available about one online. But do similar problems arise if Scotland Yard were to use this technology to identify the thugs involved in rioting and looting in London? London has a massive network of surveillance cameras and it might be possible to get images of many of those engaging in violence and looting. An opinion poll would probably show widespread public support for such policing.

London police is reportedly using Flickr to help identify the perpetrators; they have "posted a set of photos on Flickr showing people they believed to be participants in the riots. ... the images are primarily from the Croydon and West Norwood neighborhoods in south London, although the site says that more will be posted soon. With the initiative, called Operation Withern, the police are asking the public to identify anyone they recognize from photographs captured by CCTV surveillance cameras in areas where stores were looted."

What about Facebook tagging? I wonder how many of these thugs have Facebook accounts and whether they will be tagged after these images are published.