Introducing PimEyes, the seedy search engine used by pedophiles to stalk their victims

An investigation by The Intercept has placed PimEyes at the center of a disturbing scandal that facilitates access to child pornography material online.

What is PimEyes?

PimEyes is a search engine, but in a world of Googles, Bings and Yahoos, this particular AI invention is in a dystopian-like world of its own – a tool that has the ability to search and find just about anyone. what a face in the dark corners of the internet. For $29.99 per month, PimEyes lets you search in seconds with a single photo.

The New York Times put the search engine to the test and, with the agreement of his journalists, started looking for more photos of them on the web. Uploading the image of the person you want to find, along with agreeing to the terms and conditions, will create a grid-like frame of faces that the search engine deemed similar to the original provided. And for publication, the results were instantaneous and deeply concerning.

PimEyes had managed to locate multiple photos of each reporter, providing image results some people had never seen before. What’s worse is that he was able to accomplish this skillfully and accurately without even needing a clear initial image for research. The New York Times noted that despite using sunglasses or masks to hide the face or even when using images where faces were turned away from the camera, PimEyes was still able to use such an image to accurately find more of the person in question.

It was originally created in 2017 by two Polish developers, then passed through various owners until it landed in the hands of international relations specialist Giorgi Gobronidze, who had met the pair behind the engine at a conference Poland.

PimEyes is Clearview AI, but for the public

Simply put, the search engine has been described by many as “the public AI Clearview,” a powerful facial recognition tool only available to law enforcement. The last widely publicized use of Clearview AI was in the context of warUkraine making headlines for its use of the AI technology against Russia.

This in itself does not mean that it is less dangerous than PimEyes – the use of facial recognition in government concerns those who would predict a Big Brother future. However, where Clearview AI data is only available to the respective authoritative bodies, PimEyes provides this access to Everybody– and with little regulation, it’s only a matter of time before it manifests into a recipe for disaster. In fact, the search engine’s new owner, Gobronidze, said there was a heavy reliance (and expectation) on individuals to simply act “ethically” when using PimEyes, according to The New York Times.

It is these murky and unregulated waters that have created an environment where search engine use is dangerously prevalent.

Is PimEyes used for good or for bad?

Following a thorough and comprehensive investigation by The interception, the use of PimEyes and its unregulated universe has once again been called into question. The search engine used as a weapon of abuse was noted by the publication – a tool that was found to be able to “retrieve ‘potentially explicit’ photos of children” in its searches.

Using fake images of children to conduct its research, The Intercept discovered that PimEyes enabled anyone to search the Internet for images of minors. A terribly disturbing discovery, the publication quoted. The fake image used in the search was actually recovered real results of children from various sources such as blogs and personal family websites. If he can do it with fake images of children, imagine what he could do with it. real pictures.

What made matters even worse was that PimEyes would even provide the source link from which the image was found; theoretically making it an incredibly easy route for stalkers and predators to find and locate children in footage. Not only could this mean that predators can stock up After illicit images of the same child, but they could also potentially be used to stalk their victims. The aforementioned dirty, unclear waters of this device only got dirtier after The Intercept’s interview with the owner of the AI ​​tool.

In what was described as a “vague and sometimes contradictory account” of PimEyes’ privacy policies, Gobronidze claimed that its primary use was not in researching others but in researching its own image internet footprint and clean her where she wanted. He suggested that the number of primary subscribers was made up of women and girls looking for revenge porn pictures of themselves. However, according to The Intercept, there are no controls in place to prevent someone other than yourself from being searched.

Does PimEyes search social networks?

If you could believe it, the search engine was actually even worse before the removal of certain elements. According to research and reports found by Futurismon in the face of an earlier backlashthe program developers decided to reduce the search power of PimEyes.

Prior to its justified criticism, the search engine was even able to crawl social media sites for images – and according to SCREENSHOT’s survey of the world of pedophile rings attacking kidfluencer content on social media – it’s safe to say that The Intercept’s findings could have been even broader had that still been the case. In fact, Gobronidze suggested to the publication that while admittedly “tailor-made for stalkers,” PimEyes had “subsequently cleaned up its act by no longer crawling social media,” Futurism reported.

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