Incident 409: Facial Recognition Researchers Used YouTube Videos of Transgender People without Consent

Description: YouTube videos of transgender people used by researchers to study facial recognition during gender transitions were used and distributed without permission.


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Incident Stats

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Khoa Lam
Transgender YouTubers had their videos grabbed to train facial recognition software · 2017

About five or six years ago, one of Karl Ricanek’s students showed him a video on YouTube. It was a time lapse of a person undergoing hormone replacement therapy, or HRT, in order to transition genders. “At the time, we were working on faci…

Prominent facial recognition researcher scraped videos of trans people, left dataset exposed · 2022

New research finds that a controversial facial recognition dataset of trans people remained available online for years after the initial controversy of its existence, reports AlgorithmWatch. The academic responsible is a U.S. government adv…

How a flawed biometrics research project singled out LGBTQ+ individuals · 2022

Last year was a grim, record-setting year for violence against transgender individuals, and the Human Rights Campaign is tracking data that shows 2022 is on a similar pace. Outside of physical violence, other forms of attacks can harm these…


A "variant" is an incident that shares the same causative factors, produces similar harms, and involves the same intelligent systems as a known AI incident. Rather than index variants as entirely separate incidents, we list variations of incidents under the first similar incident submitted to the database. Unlike other submission types to the incident database, variants are not required to have reporting in evidence external to the Incident Database. Learn more from the research paper.