Artist finds private medical record photos in popular AI training data set

Enlarge / Censored medical images found in the LAION-5B data set used to train AI. The black bars and distortion have been added. (credit: Ars Technica)

Late last week, a California-based AI artist who goes by the name Lapine discovered private medical record photos taken by her doctor in 2013 referenced in the LAION-5B image set, which is a scrape of publicly available images on the web. AI researchers download a subset of that data to train AI image synthesis models such as Stable Diffusion and Google Imagen.

Lapine discovered her medical photos on a site called Have I Been Trained that lets artists see if their work is in the LAION-5B data set. Instead of doing a text search on the site, Lapine uploaded a recent photo of herself using the site’s reverse image search feature. She was surprised to discover a set of two before-and-after medical photos of her face, which had only been authorized for private use by her doctor, as reflected in an authorization form Lapine tweeted and also provided to Ars.

Lapine has a genetic condition called Dyskeratosis Congenita. “It affects everything from my skin to my bones and teeth,” Lapine told Ars Technica in an interview. “In 2013, I underwent a small set of procedures to restore facial contours after having been through so many rounds of mouth and jaw surgeries. These pictures are from my last set of procedures with this surgeon.”

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