Mommy Diaries: Techy Maman

A follower on Instagram asked me how I protect my child and “husband”’s privacy.

“A face recognition algorithm is an underlying component of any facial detection and recognition system or software. Specialists divide these algorithms into two central approaches. The geometric approach focuses on distinguishing features. The photo-metric statistical methods are used to extract values from an image. These values are then compared to templates to eliminate variances. The algorithms can also be divided into two more general categories — feature-based and holistic models. The former focuses on facial landmarks and analyzes their spatial parameters and correlation to other features, while holistic methods view the human face as a whole unit.”

2 central approaches:

1. Photo-metric statistical methods

2. Feature based and/or holistic analysis of spatial parameters

One of the main reasons why I conceal certain information from viewers and algorithms while uploading images that I share directly without blurring or pixelating or using emoticons over faces, making the face more generic causing algorithms to focus on a more generic facial reconstruction that can match up to – I would say – more than one human on this planet.

I am not ruling out that algorithms evolve. And within a few hours one can say… “nope not working.

Of course sharing children’s pictures can put them at risk of Digital Kidnapping (where any psychologically-unstable person can access publicly available images and posts the same photo – for example – on their own Facebook and claim the child as their own due to make believe situations). Identity theft – as most people would call it in simpler terms.

To be honest, the follower who asked me this question in perfect English has an Instagram account of an Indian man (facial-features matching that of someone from UP or Bihar or Gujarat region, – these regions are known for questionable literacy rate, let alone high standards in English). I have reason to believe that if I were to extract his IP address – I might locate him within Switzerland or EU; leading to someone who probably knows me personally – “shy” acquaintance, or someone who came to know of me through friend-circles, or just a random person who is paranoid.

Another clue? The account is always dormant but it woke up today! No account from Indian Instagramer is dormant with just 3 random photos and bunch of story-posts about cricket. Hard to believe but Indians (no matter their social class) have lives that needn’t any pretence. Particularly the town-folks. Another clue about Instagram fake account is when the Instagramer opens an account and posts 20images on the same day and then nothing more. Sigh.

Such is the magic of being tech savvy, knowing enough to locate IP addresses or altering images just enough to go under radar for algorithms. Unless the person who asks the question is tech savvy enough to use a ghost IP address. But then, they wouldn’t ask such a question if they knew about the odds that are/n’t in his/her favour. Right?

Conclusion, I see sharing images by those who know how to meddle with algorithms as less problematic than people physically kidnapping babies (happened for centuries even before social media), or pretending to be a different person (not a 21st century phenomenon). So yes, as I always tell my partner – “if you want to post a photo of our baby, send it to me, wait till I send you back the file – then you are on the clear”.

My partner last shared anything on his Facebook in 2016. He is a non sharing person as I would believe when I met him first in July before my accidental pregnancy. Well, so I thought before he surprised me. You see, past two years I stopped posting much on Facebook and my Facebook security is very tight and open to some odd 600 “friends” I know or have met. He on the other hand has more than a 1000. So the day after he asked me to be his girlfriend he posted the first time in 5 years. Then he changed his photo with a picture I took of him and our barely a month old boy. Then again recently when we went out for a drink with our boy in our arms. Saturday is family time for us – as we both are working and often people underestimate the power of reconnecting on weekends.

Point is, my partner is not just comfortable with my blogs and posts, but he also cheers me on.

And what a relief it is to have a partner who matches your vibe.

Stop being scared of technology, learn the rules, play the game.

Always remember, I will reply to you personally via messenger, but I do make exceptions occasionally – particularly if your questions are relevant.

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