Warning: Images are searchable.

Reply Mon 24 Nov, 2014 10:51 am
I am experimenting with online dating. You generally want to be anonymous. You pick a non-identifying user name. You do provide a few personal details to make yourself interesting to potential matches.

The idea is that no one should be able to connect you to your real identity until you are ready. The problem is people post pictures without realizing how easy it is to search for them. They give up anonymity.

There is a reason to search for photos. Sometimes the photos (some of which are clearly professionally done) are lifted from modelling websites and aren't real people.

What I am finding is that people are using the exact same picture on the their dating profile that they use on the linkedIn profile, or their personal blog, or their work employees picture. To find this information on Chrome, I right click on the picture and select "Search google for this image" (on other browsers it is almost as easy).

In a surprising number of cases, this 2 second search for a picture in an supposedly anonymous dating profile gives me their name, where they work, their current position and work history and often their political views. Sometimes it leads into more personal pages and photo albums that probably aren't intended to be public.

I don't think people realize how easy it is to search for pictures, or how much information they are giving up.

So I offer a basic piece of advice. If you want anything resembling anonymity online, use a completely different picture for social networks than you use for work or blogs. This doesn't completely solve the problem (facial recognition isn't super good yet, but it is coming). But it does make it more difficult. Any activity you do online using the exact same picture is instantly linked together.

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Reply Mon 24 Nov, 2014 12:17 pm

I brought this to a poster's attention when she was in the middle of a court case. She couldn't quite figure out where information for the other side was coming from. Various pix she'd posted were easy to track using google image searches - which brought up other places she'd posted and provided info - and using google, cached info was also easy to find. If I could find it in less than 5 minutes, her opponent's lawyer's p.i. would have probably had it even faster.
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Reply Mon 24 Nov, 2014 12:20 pm
maxdancona wrote:
(facial recognition isn't super good yet, but it is coming).

last week I rec'd and posted (on FB) some pix from a recent photoshoot. I was surprised how very often the FB software was correct in offering names for tagging - esp. given that we were in costume, and in some cases makeup, that made people look very different from their normal appearance
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Reply Mon 24 Nov, 2014 01:37 pm
Now for the ethical question.

I have been matched with a woman. We both clicked the "like" button (which alerts both of us of mutual interest). Without thinking I image searched her (which I do at times to check for the fake pictures)... and an amazing amount of information came up about her; her name, work history and family photos and posts about issues.

I instantly regretted finding out so much. There was nothing bad, but it was awfully personal information to know about a stranger.

I am supposed to write an introductory message now... do I tell her how much information is available about her to anyone who happens upon her dating profile?

Reply Wed 26 Nov, 2014 12:15 am
maxdancona wrote:
I am supposed to write an introductory message now... do I tell her how much information is available about her to anyone who happens upon her dating profile?

Not in your introductory message. But maybe later IF there is a tactful opportunity to bring it up.

I for one make the image search thing easy for myself. I've never put a single picture of myself online in any context. I've never joined Facebook or any other social networking site. And I've never engaged in online dating. Problem solved.
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