PimEyes is a Polish search engine that’s raising some eyebrows over its privacy implications. Powered by facial recognition technology, the service takes any portrait of a person and finds other photos of that person on the Web.
After you provide one or more photos of a person (in which their face is clearly visible), PimEyes compares that person to faces found on millions of public websites — things like news articles, blogs, social media, and more. Within a few seconds, it provides results showing other photos found that match the person and links to where those portraits were found.
ClearView AI is a service that has been stirring up controversy by scraping social media photos and making them searchable through facial recognition by law enforcement. PimEyes is similar, except it’s a free service available to the public even without signing up.
Google’s popular reserve image search can find photos similar in appearance to images you provide, but PimEyes specifically uses facial recognition and can accept multiple reference photos to find images of specific individuals.
What’s even creepier is the fact that you can pay for a premium account — $10 for one alert or $15/month for up to 25 — on the service and get alerts every time a similar face is found.
“PimEyes markets its service as a tool to protect privacy and the misuse of images,” writes OneZero. “But there’s no guarantee that someone will upload their own face, making it equally powerful for anyone trying to stalk someone else.”