Everyday technology innovations impact our lives and privacy in unexpected and sometimes ominous ways. News coverage of emerging technology and its impacts on society continues to rise just as fast as the demand from consumers to learn more about it, including in the fast-developing and controversial area of facial recognition.
Kashmir Hill is a features writer on the business desk at The New York Times covering technology and privacy. She is also the author of the national bestseller “Your Face Belongs to Us.”
Hill plans to visit with Wright State students remotely on Nov. 30.
“Kashmir Hill is the leading reporter on privacy in the digital age. She chronicles how data privacy is perhaps the most urgent legal issue of our time and how it compromises our individual, economic and constitutional freedoms,” said John Dinsmore, Ph.D., professor of marketing.
Hill’s book is described as a gripping true story about the rise of a technological superpower and an urgent warning that, in the absence of vigilance and government regulation, Clearview AI is one of many new technologies that challenge what Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis once called “the right to be let alone.”
“As consumers, we have an abstract sense that every digital service we use knows everything about us and our privacy is being compromised,” said Dinsmore. “But very few understand what that really means or why it’s important.”
“Having Kashmir present to our students aligns with our college’s values of applied relevance, service and community engagement, and an appreciation of differences,” said Rachel Sturm, Ph.D., interim associate dean of the Raj Soin College of Business. “Industry professionals meaningfully engaging with our students is a priority for the college, and we value these opportunities to connect more deeply with the community.”
Facial recognition technology has been quietly growing more powerful for decades.
Hill was skeptical when she got a tip about a mysterious app called Clearview AI that claimed it could, with 99% accuracy, identify anyone based on just one snapshot of their face. The app could supposedly scan a face and, in just seconds, surface every detail of a person’s online life: their name, social media profiles, friends and family members, home address and photos that they might not have even known existed.
Hill was determined to investigate further because if it was everything it claimed to be, it would be the ultimate surveillance tool, and it would open the door to everything from stalking to totalitarian state control.
“We are incredibly fortunate to have an expert like Ms. Hill speaking with Wright State students,” said Dinsmore.
Hill joined The New York Times in 2019 after working at Gizmodo Media Group, Fusion, Forbes Magazine and Above the Law. Her writing has appeared in The New Yorker and The Washington Post. She has degrees from Duke University and New York University, where she studied journalism.