Print 39 comment(s) - last by rbuszka.. on Jun 9 at 12:54 PM

Facebook applied facial recognition technology to users' accounts without notifying them

It seems as if Facebook's problems with security are never-ending. New social networking features roll out and appear to cross the line almost every time, and now, Facebook users are expressing concern for its new facial recognition technology. 

Facial recognition technology can be found in different programs, such as Apple's iPhoto and Google's Picasa. But the facial recognition feature can be turned off, giving users the option to use it or not. Unfortunately, this is not the case with Facebook's facial recognition feature. 

Facebook announced the release of the facial recognition feature back in December, saying it would speed up the process of tagging friends in photos. Facebook also noted that it would only be released in the United States, but in an email statement yesterday, Facebook admitted that the technology had become available to users internationally without telling them about it

"We should have been more clear with people during the roll-out process when this became available to them," said Facebook in an email statement. 

The Facebook response also added that photo-tagging suggestions using the facial recognition technology were only offered when new photos were uploaded to Facebook, and it only suggested friends. In addition, the message mentioned that the feature can be disabled in a user's privacy settings. 

But it's difficult to turn these settings off when people do not know they even have the feature. 

This new feature presents privacy problems because Facebook has over 500 million users, and applying this technology unknowingly could raise questions about whether certain personally identifiable information would become associated with the photos within the database. 

"Yet again, it feels like Facebook is eroding the online privacy of its users by stealth," said Graham Cluley, a senior technology consultant at Sophos.

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Real reason to be concerned
By Donovan on 6/8/2011 11:10:40 AM , Rating: 4
It doesn't seem as if this feature has direct privacy concerns, since it appears to be a more intelligent cataloging of data which is already available. The real reason for the alarm is that people are finally noticing just how much you can learn about someone from the information that they have been broadcasting via social media sites.

Think about all the cleverness that Google uses to find pictures and articles related to your search keywords, and imagine that same effort directed towards figuring out where you have been going, who you were with, and what you were doing there. If you are one of the many people who vomit their life out onto Facebook and Twitter, you are probably easier to track than a hurricane carrying an iPhone.

RE: Real reason to be concerned
By Devilpapaya on 6/8/2011 11:15:14 AM , Rating: 2
you are probably easier to track than a hurricane carrying an iPhone.

Got a kick out of that.

RE: Real reason to be concerned
By MrFord on 6/8/2011 11:52:58 AM , Rating: 2
Wonder if it will be able to tag crotch shots automatically too...

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