I have forwarded the link to this article that I got via Slashdot about how social media could render covert policing impossible to a number of people and somehow didn’t think to post it here (I must have pre-semester brain…). The idea is simple once you see it – with good quality facial recognition software, we know anonymity becomes challenging, and that is particularly true for careers, like undercover police work, that require strong anonymity and yet for which there is strong incentive to discover true identities, and high risk if they are found out. Though I do think the article title gets it a bit backwards – it is the facial recognition that are the tool of the problem, with photos that are searchable on the internet supporting the effective use of that tool. Social media sites are, of course, one major source of photos of individuals, but a group photo of your college’s sports team on the college website, an engagement photo in the local newspaper that also has an internet edition, or any number of other sources will also contribute. Perhaps we will see the rise of plastic surgery designed not to make you look more attractive, but to make facial recognition fail with the minimal necessary physical changes.