Pimeyes.com is a paid image search engine that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to search for a face (facial recognition). I know it sounds like a gimmick, but it is actually very accurate and scary. As a test, I uploaded an image of me, that I just snapped. The image is of my face, straight on, with a solid white wall behind me (you can have any background, I just have white walls in my house). The search is very quick and in seconds, I had a dozen images of me from all over the internet. I was shocked, to say the least, one photo was of me when I was significantly younger, one was of me wearing sunglasses, and several were candid side profiles of me, but they were photos of me. It even found my old MySpace profile image.
The free version allows you to search the entire PimEyes index. Although, if you are not a subscriber, you will not be able to find out where PimpEyes found the specific result. Subscribers also have access to an additional feature – PimEyes’ Alerts and functionalities available only in the PROtect or the Advanced plan.
I do find the way they set their pricing to be very odd, meaning, there is very little incentive for someone to pay for a higher-priced package, but it must be working as they are still around.
Now, I know that some of you are asking if PimEyes is legal and the answer is yes it is. As it is showing matches publicly available to anyone and it does not reveal information such as the name of the person, then it isn’t breaking any U.S. Laws. In the United States, taking photographs and video of things that are plainly visible in public spaces is a constitutional right—and that includes transportation facilities, the outside of federal buildings, and police and other government officials carrying out their duties. Basically, if anyone can see what you are taking a photo of, without having to have any special access or clearance, then you can legally take a photo of it. Often people feel that a model release needs to be signed, and that would be the case if the photos were being shot in a private setting, but if they are out in the public and anyone, just walking by can see it, then you can take a snap of it.
The scary part of Pimeyes is that if I can go there and you can go there, then a stalker can go there as well and the internet is full of cyberstalkers. The real problem that many social influencers are facing, is that they are using an alias for their Instagram or Twitter or YouTube Channels. This is so their family can live free of worry, however, PimpEyes would allow a stalker to marry the influencer to the person’s real life.
Cyberstalking is a scary thing, take the “Pure Living for Life” YouTube channel (they also have a bunch of Social Media pages on several platforms). “Pure Living for Life” is the pen name that Jesse and Alyssa use. They are building an off-grid home and they are chronically the challenges of this project.
Before anyone jumps in and starts to tell me that there is more to their story, I will state that I have read about the controversy and I fully understand, but that isn’t the topic for this post. I personally don’t care about the details of the disaster they created. I’m focusing on how people started to research them, locate the property, discover their names, find family members, follow their vehicles, and stalk their houses. Regardless of the situation, that is just creepy as hell, and for many it is scary as hell too.
The fact that people are using the Internet to actually stalk people is scary as hell. My family actually has a real-life stalking story, so we understand how scary it can be. But it is time to get back to PimEyes.
PimEyes is selling itself as a privacy tool, stating that you can use it to find yourself and then remove unwanted photos of you from around the web. However, their pricing model states something entirely different. But, yeah, I guess you can use it that way too. PimEyes claims that any photo that is uploaded is kept for 48 hours and then deleted. I’m not sure why they keep it for 48 hours, one would think that once the search is done, then the photo should be removed.
If you want to opt-out and have your photos removed from PimEyes.com, they have a form for that. You can also rest assured that PimEyes does not have the capability to scan social media sites like Facebook, so the photo of you drunk off your ass.
Knowing that this question is burning inside you yes, PimEyes searches adult porn sites. In fact, a little story from NetzPolitik.org shows you to what level PinEyes searches.
PimEyes is also a threat to those affected by voyeurism and so-called revenge pornography, i.e. recordings made or distributed without consent. The perpetrators want to hurt and degrade women, in particular, by making the recordings accessible to as many eyes as possible. The search engine plays right into their hands.
In August 2019, Tom accidentally finds nude photos of his wife Nicole on the Internet during a reverse image search in another search engine: 190 different photos, plus eight illegally published videos. In order to hunt down the perpetrator(s), Tom created a spreadsheet and collected around 2,700 links to the locations of the photos. The online magazine VICE reported on this case, their names are being changed to protect the couple. (Source – https://netzpolitik.org/2020/
By The Numbers
- PimEyes, claims that they analyze 1 terabyte of photos every day
- Their database claims biometric data of more than 900 million faces
- PimEyes currently has only about 350 premium subscribers
To see how scary and accurate this search is, here is a photo of Cecilia Kang, a New York Times reporter, in a surgical mask who was the source for a PimEyes image search. A few of the more than 650 results are at right.
how about this, PimEyes was able to identify Erin Griffith, a correspondent for The Times, even though she was wearing sunglasses in her source image. It identified her in one image with her head turned to the side, in another in a group of people, and in a third with her eyes closed.