KEY POINTS

  • Yandex accused of using facial recognition 
  • The feature, in wrong hands, can be dangerous
  • Deep machine learning is used for facial recognition

Yandex, the most popular search engine in Russia, is being accused of using machine learning and deep learning neural networks to provide facial recognition services to users.

According to a Daily Mail report, experts have called this component of the search engine "creepy" and "poor." Anyone can input an image of a person into the website and it will reveal any web presence of the person.

Google, Bing and similar search engines allow users to put in anonymous images and see similar related results. However, only Yandex pulls out the exact same person in the image.

A blogger named Nelson Minar spotted this feature of Yandex producing the same person in search results after feeding the image. Meanwhile, Yandex denied using facial recognition for search results, however, the company did mention using deep learning neural networks and machine learning.

A deep neural network has more than two layers of neural networks and uses a complex mathematical model to process data in convoluted ways.

It is nothing but an episode of “Black Mirror” unfolding in real life. Felix Rosbach, a product manager at comforte AG, informed Daily Mail that, sadly, this is the future.

Rosbach said that this technology comes handy for users to identify people and extract data. However, when used by third-party services to collect data for records, it is a breach of privacy.

“When third parties use this technology to correlate information that is freely available on the internet to create user records, it becomes creepy,” Rosbach stated. This feature on Yandex offers no security to users from stalkers, criminals, and strangers.

Meanwhile, in December 2017, Yandex announced a massive change to its search algorithms and technology. The new update, known as Vega, claims to bring about 1500 improvements to its search capabilities. However, the company did not mention the specifics of this technology that is integrated with the search engine.

Yandex is yet to make a comment on the allegations of facial recognition technology in its search engine.