Coronavirus Mask Image dataset

Released: April 2020
Occurred: May 2020

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AI startup WorkAround has created the COVID19 Mask Image Dataset, a dataset of 1,200 people wearing face masks in order to improve the quality of biometric facial recognition algorithms. WorkAround identified thousands of photos, mostly taken from Instagram, available in public data sets.

Civil rights advocates are concerned researchers are collecting social media photos of people wearing masks without their consent. A spokesperson for Facebook, which owns Instagram, told Cnet they do not allow third parties to collect or use photos posted by their users in this way without their consent.

'We’re not making any money off of this, it’s not commercial,' WorkAround CEO Wafaa Arbash said. 'The goal and the intention was to help any data science or machine learning engineers who are working to fix this issue and help with public safety.'

Operator: WorkAround

Country: USA

Sector: Health; Research/academia

Purpose: Improve facial recognition algorithms

Technology: Dataset; Facial recognition; Computer vision
Issue: Privacy; Ethics

Transparency: Privacy