An anonymous Chinese programmer based out of Germany sparked outrage after using face-recognition technology to “catch” women who had appeared in porn. He aims to inform the vulnerable males that their girlfriends or fiances’ may have acted in porn.
Even though the claims are debatable, it is proof that technologies like facial recognition can be weaponized if fallen into the wrong hands.
The undisclosed programmer revealed on Chinese social network Weibo claimed on May 27 to be using facial recognition to match porn performers to profile pictures taken from the social media.
The programmer says he’s identified more than 100,000 women through the system, though he is yet to share proof of his success. His stated goal was to help men determine if their significant others have secretly acted in porn.
According to his story, he had been working on the project for more than six months, collaborating with six other collaborators across the globe. More than 100 terabytes of data were scraped from a host of major pornography sites, including PornHub and China’s largest adult website, Caoliu, as well as social media platforms including Facebook, TikTok, and Weibo.
Despite lacking proof that the ‘global system’ actually worked, or even existed, his post has gone viral in both China on Weibo and in the United States on Twitter after a Stanford political science Ph.D. candidate tweeted them with translations. This has led prominent activists and academics to discuss the potential implications of the technology. Feminists are all over this project saying that systems like this enable male dominance. They believed that this project would result in unnecessary surveillance, impersonation, extortion, and misinformation.
A Germany-based Chinese programmer said he and some friends have identified 100k porn actresses from around the world, cross-referencing faces in porn videos with social media profile pictures. The goal is to help others check whether their girlfriends ever acted in those films. pic.twitter.com/TOuUBTqXOP
— Yiqin Fu (@yiqinfu) May 28, 2019
Following public outcry, he later claimed his intention was to allow women, with or without their fiancées, to check if they are on porn sites and to send a copyright takedown request.
The idea was first made public in August 2018. The programmer wrote that the program was designed to prevent more computer engineers from becoming sex-deprived men who end up getting married to women who have a high number of lifetime lovers and feel “duped” afterward.
“My goal is to offer an initial filter for my friends in the coding world,” he wrote.
Back then, the post didn’t spark much discussion on Chinese social media, except for a few supportive comments from his fellow programmers, who praised the project as a “true blessing” for them. However this time, after the anonymous entrepreneur said that he was poised to roll out the algorithm, the Chinese internet was ablaze with criticism and fury, as many accused the developer of abusing facial recognition technology for unethical purposes and of violating personal privacy.
Today it’s porn, tomorrow it will be people’s drunk college photos on Instagram. AI facial recognition means anything you’ve ever done can be used against you. Beware. https://t.co/oDWwcJtBs9
— IM🍑HIM (@ziyatong) May 29, 2019
On the other hand, misogynists believe that women who have had “too much” sex are unworthy of affection and marriage and believe that this product was a boon for men who end up falling for the wrong woman.
Which side are you on?