Imagine for a moment, that you are at the farmer’s market on a Saturday morning, getting your veggies and minding your own business. Suddenly, a creepy guy with a comb-over approaches you. “Hey, there. I bet you like long walks on the beach and strawberry margaritas, baby.”
What? you think. How on earth did he know that?
Then he begins to talk to you, and it’s eerie, simply uncanny all the things Mr. Creepster has in common with you. Suddenly you realize, he is all but plagiarizing that profile you put on OKCupid last month in the hopes of meeting Mr. Right. He knows that you don’t smoke, that you have 3 children, the city in which you reside, what you do for a living, and that you go hiking alone to enjoy the solitude of a nearby mountain trail every single weekend.
Putting the “stalk” in stalker, a new facial recognition app for Smartphones will allow a user to scan a crowd and pinpoint people with profiles on online dating sites or social media sites. NameTag, designed for Android and iOS, scans a person in whom the user is interested and looks for that person on dating sites such as PlentyOfFish, OkCupid, and Match as well as social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
NameTag wirelessly sends the photo that the user has surreptitiously taken of the prospective date to a server, where it is then compared to millions of records. In seconds, a match is returned that has the unwitting victim’s full name, additional photos and all social media profiles.
Check out this rather disturbing blurb on the NameTag website, where they’re actually encouraging people to register their photos voluntarily:
With NameTag, Your Photo Shares You.
Why leave meeting amazing people up to chance? Don’t miss out on the opportunity to connect with others who share your passions!
Connect your info and interests with the world by simply sharing your most unique feature – your face. Nametag links your face to a single, unified online presence that includes your contact information, social media profiles, interests, hobbies and passions and anything else you want to share with the world.
Using the NameTag smartphone or Google Glass app, simply snap a pic of someone you want to connect with and see their entire public online presence in one place.
Don’t be a Stranger
The app strongly encourages you to register yourself so that people on the street can instantly know everything about you. Who on earth would think that this is a good idea? I fear an alarming number of people might think so, sadly.
Here’s Jane, NameTag’s example profile holder.
Meet Jane – by using NameTag
Jane has lots of different social media profiles and loves to meet new people. By using NameTag, she can link all her social networks to her face and share her information and meet new people in an instant. At work, she opts to have just her Professional Profile information visible, but when she goes out to happy hour with her friends, she changes her profile settings to Personal and displays more details, like her hobbies, interests and relationship status.
Bad idea, Jane. There’s a pervy dude that just took your picture and is now salaciously thinking about your single self doing yoga.
The techy folks think that this is just great:
NameTag’s creator Kevin Alan Tussy said: ‘I believe that this will make online dating and offline social interactions much safer and give us a far better understanding of the people around us.
‘It’s much easier to meet interesting new people when we can simply look at someone, see their Facebook, review their LinkedIn page or maybe even see their dating site profile. Often we were interacting with people blindly or not interacting at all. NameTag can change all that.’
Tom Wiggins, Deputy Editor of tech mag Stuff, thinks the app is a good idea, but that users should exercise caution.
He said: ‘It could be very handy if you’re not afraid of scaring people off with your creepy app. It’s evidently pretty clever but I think most people would find it quite invasive. And isn’t the point of dating to find out more about people? This kind of defeats the object.
‘In terms of privacy, I assume it’s only finding information that you’ve already put online, so it’s not really any more of a risk to privacy than adding photos to Facebook.’ (source)
The app doesn’t stop at accessing dating profiles and Facebook accounts. Oh no! Just like a Ginsu knife commercial, wait, there’s more! If you order right now, you’ll get this great bonus!
For added peace of mind, the user can also cross-reference the photos against more than 450,000 entries in the National Sex Offender Registry and other criminal databases. (source)
So this cheapo app is going to take ONE PICTURE and tell you that someone is in a criminal data base. Can you imagine the potential vigilante applications of this?
First of all, we all know that the “justice” system is anything but just, and that not everyone who is registered as a “sex offender” is actually a threat to society. Think about an 18 year old who dated a 16 year old, for example. Suddenly anyone could be pinpointed as a sex offender, while they’re just going about their business at the grocery store or the mall.
Secondly, this is not a state-of-the-art facial recognition program. What if it’s wrong? What if it says that guy pushing the grocery cart full of juice boxes and animal crackers to the checkout stand is a purveyor of kiddie porn, but he’s actually just a dad with 3 kids at home?
Smartphones seem to have taken the place of SmartPeople. Not only have electronic devices taken away many interpersonal communications and experiences (see this video), now they’re taking away the mystery of getting to know somebody new, and they’re boiling the magic of attraction down to facial recognition and algorithms.
With stuff like this, the eugenicists won’t need birth control to depopulate the world. People will just connect via their smartphones. Problem solved.