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The Source: Is Facial Recognition A Threat To Privacy? | Making It In San Antonio's Art World

Nametag promotional video shows functionality of app.

In the first segment:

New apps for Google Glass can scour databases of photos from dating sites and public records using facial recognition technology to identify people on the street. NameTag, an app designed to help you meet people, harbors the threat of stalking and harassment says U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-MN). Franken has raised similar concerns over Facebook's algorithm and the general lack of privacy regulation surrounding our biometrics. 

Facial Network, the database of photos that power apps like NameTag, responded to Franken's questions,stating bluntly that the company believes itself to be just another search engine. And to his question regarding if people can opt-out, they put the onus squarely on individuals, saying:

"If you have never created an online public profile and don't have any photos online on public websites, then we do not have any information about you and you cannot be identified by NameTag."

The FBI is beefing up its photo databases to better utilize the functionality. Retailers are using it to offer special deals to high rollers and to catch serial shoplifters already. But whereas the FBI has no authorization to pull from anywhere from arrest records and photos, commercial ventures are mining social media and other resources to pull together vast archives of faces.

Last week the National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA) brought together commerce, privacy advocates, researchers, and other stakeholders to find common ground on best practices. 

As facial recognition technology goes from government to now retail and consumer classes, is society ready for anonymity-free public space? 

Joining us to talk about this is Joseph Lorenzo Hall, chief technologist at The Center for Democracy & Technology.

Also joining us is Craig Spiezle, executive director of the Online Trust Alliance, an industry working group dedicated to self-regulation of privacy and identity.

In the second segment:


Credit San Antonio Current

San Antonio’s art landscape has changed. Some taste-making galleries have folded over the last few years and the road to the top, or to just not starving as an artist, is much different.

Sarah Fisch detailsthe changes in the recent cover story for the San Antonio Current.

The City’sfunding guidelines for artists and the arts through the Department for Culture & Creative Development  are going through a transition that may help the situation.  

Will the up-and-coming opt out of San Antonio? Is it harder to make it now in as an artist than it was five years ago?

We talk with arts journalist Sarah Fisch, DCCD director Felix Padron, and artist Ethel Shipton about the arts landscape in San Antonio.

*The Source airs at 3 p.m. on KSTX 89.1 FM -- audio from this show will be posted by 5:30 p.m.

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Paul Flahive can be reached at Paul@tpr.org