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Leave a hair, lose some privacy

We all have seen those police dramas where a forensics specialist finds a hair at a crime scene, the DNA is extracted, and a suspect confirmed. Heather Dewey-Hagborg has taken this a bit further with her project Stranger Visions providing an insight into how that simple hair may compromise privacy.

Stranger Visions

Heather Dewey-Hagborg is a self described “information artist who is interested in exploring art as research and public inquiry”. At the recent Navigate conference sponsored by the IAPP, Heather presented her project showing how by extracting the DNA from a hair she could render a sculpture of the owners face.

This video provides a description of the Stranger Visions project.

 Potential privacy implications

The project provides a fascinating look into how technology is progressing to ease access to  DNA analysis. As technology advances and this project continues to evolve it will be possible that the sculptures created will become increasingly accurate. Applying facial recognition technology to the sculpture may then provide access to a wealth of information about the hair’s owner.