New camera phone application that links personal information to a photo raises fears over personal security, but developer claims that criticism is unjustified

Personal security fears have been raised over a camera phone application that instantly identifies pictures by matching them to photos on social networking websites.

Highlighted by daily newspapers yesterday, The Sun claimed that use of the ‘Recognizr' facial recognition application could lead to burglars taking secret snaps of revellers to find out their addresses, strangers falling prey to blackmail and women being stalked.

Developed by Swedish company The Astonishing Tribe (TAT), Recognizr allows the user to take a picture of whoever they want to find more information about them, and hit the 'Recognize' button. Personal information, which can include phone numbers, addresses and email addresses, is then sent to the user via text.

Tom Gaffney, technical manager of F-Secure, said: “This app looks like it could be a stalker's dream. Being able to take a picture of a stranger and find out highly personal information about them without them knowing is a worrying development.”

Recognizr is currently in a prototype format for the Android, and is not available for the Apple iPhone. In an official statement, TAT explained that a person needs to be registered when photographed to have their information sent.

TAT said that they agreed with the claims made about privacy, and it was very sensitive to offering certain safeguards with the tool to prevent privacy misuse.

It said: “People have to opt-in to Recognizr, and have the choice of what information will be displayed, what social networks will be connected or not, and decide on their own profile groups. All of us today have to watch how we handle our privacy settings and private information. I sure do.”

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