A report from The New York Times recently revealed the ordeal that Kodye Elise, a Tik Tok star, suffered to remove her young daughter from the public screen. In 2020 she published a video in which the girl appeared dancing that had millions of views. Some time later, images of the little girl were on other networks, sometimes accompanied by comments that the TikToker called “creepy.”
From there, a thorny journey began to erase those of its three offspring from digital infinity. Among other things, she had to subscribe to a service to get one of the images of one of them removed, detected by an image search engine among the audience of a football match on a newspaper's website.
In the same report (and in many others in recent months) it is warned how cybercrime is using AI to combine those images stolen from networks with voice theft (in calls in which they make you speak under any pretext) to blackmail with kidnappings: a woman explained to the New York Times how a caller asked her for money in exchange for her 15-year-old daughter, who was screaming (tortured or whatever) next to the caller. Luckily, at that moment the girl was home, sleeping.
In this scenario, Kodye Elise recommends self-tracking to know what images of yourself are floating around on the networks. There are at least two free tools, Facecheck and Pimeyes. I try the first one. You have to drag your own photo into a box. Facecheck finds fifteen Ignacios Orovio… Only one is me. And he says there's an 86% chance it's me. An 86??
There's more: it turns out that there is a 55% chance that he is that guy who appears implicated in a complaint for “armed uprising, genocide and coup d'état” in Bolivia (It's not me! And I don't look like him!) Not even 1%!); that there is a 49% chance that it is a certain R.H. (from a biological and hunting research institute in Austria – interesting – completely bald); and adds that with 48% certainty I am that member of Parliament from Zurich (with Spanish surnames, yes, but eight years younger) (thank you).
I do the test at Pimeyes, and it is much more effective: it finds eight real photographs of me (most of which I had no idea existed online) and two that are not me. I look like it, but I'm not. But there are only two of them (and they are not coup plotters).
I hear Kodye Elise's voice. I insert a photo of my son, 12 years old… horror.
My account is blocked “due to a possible violation of our company policy.” The message says that their monitoring systems “have detected” that I have been “involved in activities related to the search for minors”… which is totally true…
They continue that my account is “under review” and that depending on the result “I may be reported to the relevant authorities for further action.” They offer me to contact their support team, although – they warn – “the chances of reestablishing your account are extremely low for serious violations like this.”
I write an exculpatory email in three seconds. Minutes pass, sweat, silence. They call the intercom. It can only be the FBI.