Dries Depoorter created a fantastic and fear-inducing technology, “The Follower.” It accesses “open cameras and AI to find how an Instagram photo is taken,” tracing, cross-referencing, and correlating time stamps, geolocations, and surveillance networks.
How does this work?
1. Recorded a selection of open cameras for weeks.
2. Scraped all Instagram photos tagged with the locations of the open cameras.
3. Software compares the Instagram with the recorded footage.
According to his webpage, “Dries Depoorter is a Belgium artist that handles themes as privacy, artificial intelligence, surveillance & social media. Depoorter creates interactive installations, apps and games.”
“Depoorter, 31, gained attention last year for his project The Flemish Scrollers, which used AI to tag Belgian politicians distractedly scrolling on their phones during live-streamed meetings. Depoorter declines to share the usernames of any of those caught up in his latest project…Depoorter will reveal that The Follower came about out of boredom as he remotely observed the habits of an apparent influencer. “I’ve been doing projects with open cameras for years,” Depoorter says. “One day, I was watching one camera, and there was a person taking photos for like half an hour, really professionally. That was the starting point.” Depoorter manually searched for the resultant photos on Instagram using the platform’s location-tagging functionality, but couldn’t find them. So, he decided to code a tool that pulls in surveillance camera footage that is close to the ground — the better to identify people more accurately — and at tourist sites where people are likely to take photographs.”
Check out Depoorter’s Instagram. These are two YouTube discussions of “The Follower,” here and here. His TEDxTalk, “Privacy?” can be found here. Rob Bezchizza posted about Depoorter’s Die With Me app here.
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