From 2nd Amendment Daily News:
Google And Facebook Are Making a Photo Gun Registry Complete With Serial Numbers
Washington, DC — On Wednesday, The Firearm Blog posted a story that will likely blow most gun owners away. Earlier in the day, Jalopnik, a website for selling cars and car parts posted an article about cars and license plate numbers. Not exactly breaking gun news.
But Jalopnik’s article claimed that if you put in a license plate number into google, it would pull up any images stored of that car or it’s license plate. Google was essentially using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) on license plates in Google Images. This made the license plates (and thus the cars) searchable by Google query.
Curious, The Firearm Blog wondered if Google was also using that Optical Character Recognition on the serial numbers of guns. And it turns out, they are. That’s right. Every gun picture uploaded to Google, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and Twitter is being automatically scanned using OCR and its serial number is now stored. To prove that this data mining was happening, The Firearm Blog used examples of gun pictuers they had posted to their blogs—and thus of which they had the serial numbers. They typed in the serial numbers and nothing else (no gun make or model, etc) and immediately Google showed them their own blog post with that exact gun in it. Google had read the practically microscopic serial number from off the gun in their blog post and had used that data mining to add the serial number to their database.
Google is archiving these serial numbers and making a collection of every gun that’s ever been uploaded to the internet. Granted, not every picture of every gun will be readable by their software, but the fact remains that they likely have pictures of millions and millions of American guns stored with their serial numbers in this searchable database.
If you put the serial number in quotes in your search, Google is forced to look only for that string of numbers. And it pulled the image up in seconds.
This is basically a ghost registry.
If you’re the kind of person who puts fake info on a grocer store membership card, then you might want to seriously consider blacking out your serial numbers before posting pictures of your guns in any online format, or even reconsider posting them at all.