"Faces of the Riot": They publish the faces behind the protests in the Capitol

The website that published them is "Faces of the Riot".

What was the background? It was all a result of the images and videos that many of the "Protestants" shared through Parler. This content was used by hackers to collect the information and post it on another page. But the interesting thing is that the content they found also revealed geolocation metadata that allowed them to know how many of Parler's users had participated in the protests in the Capitol.

To all this, what is Parler? It is a social network based in the United States created in mid-2018 that is known as the “refuge for those expelled from twitter and Facebook”, it has also been given the name of the “social network of Trump's followers” . The logic behind this social network is to give an alternative of free expression to people who for different reasons have been "censored" in other social networks. During the electoral campaign in the United States, many people began to use it, but since it has become a platform for the dissemination of content without limits (without any qualms about messages inciting violence), platforms such as Google Play and Apple have suspended it from their download listings.

How did Faces of the Riot come about? According to its creator, it only required “a simple open source machine learning and facial recognition software to detect, extract and duplicate each face of the 827 videos that were posted to Parler from inside and outside the Capitol building on January 6", he pointed Wired

Source: @RiotFaces

What is the OBJETIVE? Facilitate the identification of those who know or belong to mafias or cartels wanted by the FBI. However, this website does not distinguish between people who carried out acts of vandalism inside the Capitol and those who were outside protesting "peacefully". The only safeguard that the creator of this page does in this regard is that each face is linked to the original video from where it was rescued, with which, through that record, its performance in the events of January 6 could be put into context.

The real background is the implications for privacy and people's right to freedom of expression. No one can deny that it is a very useful tool to facilitate police work in the case of those who have carried out acts outside the law, but what is the cost? Compromise the personal data of many others, threaten the right to protest, affect the right to honor and reputation, among others. In the same vein, Evan Greer, campaign director of the NGO “Fight for the Future” on digital civil liberties, pointed out: “I think it would be a huge mistake if we walked out of this moment glorifying or extolling a technology that, broadly speaking, disproportionately harms communities of color, low-income communities, immigrant communities"

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Marilú Lazo
Lawyer from the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP). Director of The Crypto Legal Blog, she has experience in corporate advice, consumer protection, as well as in matters of personal data protection and new technologies.


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