Until recently, the notion that your selfie would be scraped off the internet by a private company and sold to law enforcement as a profitable mugshot would have seemed like a conspiracy theory (or at least an unlikely, worst case scenario). In early 2020, a technology company called ClearView AI scraped millions of public sites, including Facebook, YouTube, and Venmo, amassing nearly 3 billion photos for facial recognition and sold the datasets to more than 600 law enforcement agencies in the US.
These artworks allow the viewer to see an emotive interpretation of FR, how the computer cuts, warps, and distorts faces. Translating these invisible actions from behind digital screens into physical, printed objects makes the reality of online surveillance feel actual and personal. I don’t believe anyone expects their photos to be used for facial recognition (FR) when they post online, and I think we deserve basic digital rights to protect our data from this undesired use.