April 22, 2016

How trolls use Findface against porn actresses and why it’s bad for you and me

News Privacy Tips

Saint Petersburg photographer Egor Tsvetkov recently published a photo project, created with the help of a service called FindFace. He turned the public’s attention to the website and accidentally awoke the beasts. And these beasts as is wont attacked the beauties. Well, let’s start from the beginning.

pornstar-deanon-featured

In case you don’t know: Findface is a Russian service that helps people find VK.com users having nothing but their photo taken on the street. In the beginning it was advertised as a dating service but now everybody uses it at will.

For example, law enforcement gathers additional information about criminals with Findface. Users of Russian Arhivach anonymous forum use it to in their dirty hobby. These people de-anonymize those whom they dislike and bully them and their surrounding.

What’s happened?

This time trolls attacked Russian porn actresses. Unlike their American colleagues Russian porn workers are not ready to brag about their career on social networks. In daily life they prefer the image of family girls.

That’s why many acquaintances of these girls might not know what they did for living. Trolls decided to showcase this aspect of their lives very clear. They uploaded to Findface erotic photos of the girls and searched for their VK.com accounts.

When they succeeded cyberbullying began. Trolls sent messages to the account owners and their online friends. They told the victim that it’s bad to make porn for money and shared her NC18+ photos with her friends.

The forum contains a separate thread with the collection of matching photos and reports. Trolls also shared this content on a VK.com group, but later it was deleted as a number of people reported their page.

As the result several girls deleted their VK pages and Instagram accounts. If you look at the screenshots published by trolls, you’ll see that girls deny their connection to the porn industry, while their friends make a furious stand for them.

Why is it bad?

Cyberbullying is rather widespread. For anonymouses bullying people online is their favorite hobby. Trolls often feel that they rightfully judge the girls, but there are more questions in this incident than it seems at the first view.

Findface is not absolutely accurate. We tested the service on our own staff and found out that sometimes it’s unable to find people, and moreover it often makes mistakes. Findface search results look like a series of accounts sorted by potential relevance and these results are not always correct.

That’s why the trolls could easily bully a girl who has never been filmed in any porn or erotic project. She just looked like one of the porn actresses.

Right now Findface has more than 500 thousand users, who leverage it with different goals. Moreover, service developers plan to make Findface work with other social networks. This step can fundamentally change everything we know about online privacy.

So this becomes a global problem. Findface is a huge step to losing even the very idea of privacy, a step to the New Baroque, which was described by Alexander Erofeev.

What’s next?

Findface is made on the base of technologies (developed by Russian N-Tech.Lab company) that can solve a number of great problems. And each solution will make a part of our private life public.

Marketing specialists are eager to turn Findface into a powerful advertising tool that would help them to make personal offers, gather accurate statistical data and eliminate discount cards (who needs a card when you have a face recognition system and client’s photo).

Any personalized offer attracts attention by default. When you watch ads on TV, you can turn it off anytime. But when somebody says your name and offers something what recently attracted your attention on the web it would be much harder to ignore such a message.

If technologies that made Findface work spread with the same speed, very soon we’ll drown in the flood of personal offers and discounts. They will be everywhere: on the street video walls, on screens in shopping malls, in the subway, and in our own PCs and smartphones.

So, what can you do to protect yourself?

First, never publish a lot of photos online. The less images are uploaded to your account the lower is the accuracy of face recognition. This is how it works right now.

Secondly, you should check privacy settings on your social networks. Limit the troll’s ability to send you direct messages or post on your walls. This might also protect you from intrusive ads as well. Besides, you should also hide your friend list, as trolls firstly attack what is the most valuable — your inner circle.

Kaspersky Daily has a series of articles, which explain how to protect your Facebook, VK.com, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.