TagSense Turns Android Smartphones into Spy Machines

If you had been worrying about your friends tagging your embarrassing pictures on Facebook, think about a bot doing that for you, and even spying on you at the same time!

Chaun Qin and  Xuan Bao who are summer interns for Microsoft Research have unveiled a creepy Android application that turns your Android Smartphone into a spy machine. The app, TagSense makes use of all kinds of sensors, face detection technology, GPS, accelerometers, and even microphones to detect what the person in the picture was doing at the time of being shot, and where the individual was located.

Android phone’s built-in accelerometers would determine what sort of physical activity the subject was involved in. Light sensors would determine the weather conditions, and the GPS would give the dreaded location data. To make matters worse, the phones’ microphones can determine if the subject in question was silent, crying, laughing or talking at the time of being shot. All this information is later tagged to the image and shared. The scariest bit about the TagSense app is that it taps into information stored on other Smartphones which are located nearby.

Thus, TagSense would interact with adjacent Smartphones tat also have the app installed, verify the information and identity of the subject and enable collaborative tagging. The app developers claim that this facility is strictly ‘opt-in’ but of course, we are not so naive after all. Some of the cool things that TagSense can do is helping you group images based on mood, location, activities etc. On the other hand, if you are the subject of the image and if you did not click the image yourself, possible misuse of the image and information tagged with it is innumerable.

The app was debuted at MobiSys convention in Washington and will surely fuel yet another social media war related to photo-tagging between players like Flickr, Facebook, apple and Google. TagSense is one of the creepiest and disturbing photo-tagging apps that I have ever come across! TagSense is still in a prototype stage, and a commercial product might take a few years. You could also read about Facebook Face Detection Technology that we had written about some time back.