January 16, 2010

"The FBI Shouldn't Play with Google Images!"


This one's from the "Fun with Photoshop and Google Images Department":

There's a funky old 1972 movie called "Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things" -- but we might want to headline a new embarrassment for the FBI by the somewhat similar title: "The FBI Shouldn't Play with Google Images!"

Actually, the situation would be even more funny if it weren't potentially so serious. On Friday, to considerable fanfare and media attention, the U.S. State Department released a "digitally enhanced and aged" image of Osama bin Laden, complete with a reminder of the $25-million reward for his capture or obliteration.

Just one problem. It didn't take long for a top Spanish lawyer and Member of Parliament to notice that the new image representing the world's most wanted man was ... uh ... strikingly similar to his own face. Cough, choke, spit out the coffee onto the newspaper! Ouch.

Now comes the really good part. The FBI originally had claimed that it aged terror suspect photos using "cutting edge" technology. But after Gaspar Llamazares (who turns out to be a critic of the U.S. "war on terror") expressed concerns about sharing much of his face with someone carrying such a massive bounty, the FBI admitted to using a somewhat different procedure in this case.

It turns out that they lifted a photo of Llamazares from an old campaign poster found on Google Images, then simply cut and pasted his hair, jaw line, and forehead onto bin Laden's face.

The State Department has now pulled that photo down from their wanted terrorists Web Site.

As you can imagine, Llamazares is most definitely not amused.

But it could have been worse. The FBI might have used images of Conan O'Brien and Jay Leno to update bin Laden's visage.

Now that's scary.


Posted by Lauren at January 16, 2010 07:52 PM | Permalink
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