Why the FBI is jealous of Facebook’s 97% facial recognition accuracy




facial recognitionHardcore conspiracy theorists will tell you that Facebook is a secret government spying project, cleverly designed to get us to reveal everything from our whereabouts, to our associates, and nefarious activities.

If you fall in to that category, fear not. Techcrunch reports that the government can only dream of having the same kind of technology available to Facebook–especially when it comes to facial recognition.

Given a suspect’s face, NGI [the FBI's technology]  returns a ranked list of 50 possibilities, and only promises an 85 percent chance of returning the suspect’s name in the list. To put it another way, even when you give NGI 50 guesses, it still lets one in seven suspects off the hook.

Compare that to Facebook…

Give Facebook two pictures, and it can tell you with 97 percent accuracy whether they’re the same person, roughly the same accuracy as a human being in the same spot…It also has many more pictures to work with, hosting 250 billion photos to the FBI’s 50 million.

In the meantime, the FBI just needs more time to build up its own database of faces–or perhaps some kind judge to force Facebook to hand over its database.

Still, Facebook’s facial recognition is not perfect. Case in point? It recently suggested I label my wife as the woman in an inflight safety briefing video. Perhaps the FBI should instead turn to the Hawaii Five-0 team–who can take any photo and match it to the perp with 100% accuracy, in just seconds! :-P