The problem is more widespread then highlighted in the article. It’s not just these high profile companies using “public domain” images to annotate with facial recognition notes and training machine learning (ML) models. Anyone can scan the Internet for images of people, and build a vast library of faces. These faces can then be used to train ML models. In fact, using public domain images from “the Internet” will cut across multiple data sources, not just Flickr, which increases the sample size, and may improve the model.
The rules around the uses of “Public Domain” image licensing may need to be updated, and possibly a simple solution, add a watermark to any images that do not have permission to be used for facial recognition model training. All image processors may be required to include a preprocessor to detect the watermark in the image, and if found, skip the image from being included in the training of models.