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


  (Source: popfi.com)
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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RE: This is why...
By Reclaimer77 on 6/8/2011 12:58:14 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
What you fail to understand is that Facebook has been tagging people in photos that other people have uploaded without their permission.


Wrong, you DID give them permission when you signed up with Facebook and agreed to their terms. And, again, if you don't like ANY feature you can turn it off.

quote:
Facebook is basically a precursor to the most ingenius surveillance system ever devised where the public wittingly/unwittingly provides the information.


Baseless fear mongering.

quote:
What's more, there are no laws governing their own internal use of this data or it's persistence in their systems. The possibility exists for companies to build such profiles on you before you ever become a user in the hopes that someday you will become a user that they can then exploit for profit.


Ok take the tin foil hate off. That's frankly absurd. Companies are not waiting around in the hopes that you will make a Facebook account and upload photos so they can, at some point in the future, exploit you. Don't you see how fear is clouding your judgement here? Come on!


RE: This is why...
By Smilin on 6/8/2011 1:53:56 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
And, again, if you don't like ANY feature you can turn it off.


So tell me Einstein how do you travel back in time to turn off a feature you didn't even know existed until it had already been running for a while?


RE: This is why...
By Solandri on 6/8/2011 1:59:45 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
quote:
What you fail to understand is that Facebook has been tagging people in photos that other people have uploaded without their permission.

Wrong, you DID give them permission when you signed up with Facebook and agreed to their terms. And, again, if you don't like ANY feature you can turn it off.

That's not what he's talking about. His next sentence should have made that obvious:
quote:
There are even examples of people being tagged in photos taken by tourists that just happened to have them in the frame as they were walking by.

He's talking about your photo being uploaded to Facebook by someone else, and your face being recognized, cataloged, and tagged (and if the EXIF data on the photo includes it, cross-referenced to a time, date, and location) without your consent.

I don't even have a FB account, and this has been something I've worried about off and on. I know FB already knows my email address and phone number from friends of mine who do use it asking each other what they are. Through this sort of indirect data-mining, at some point FB is going to know almost as much about me as if I did have an account. As you point out, I'm not opposed to a company data-mining people who have opted in to use their service. But how the h*ll do I opt-out of this if I don't even have a FB account in the first place?


RE: This is why...
By Reclaimer77 on 6/8/2011 2:22:35 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
He's talking about your photo being uploaded to Facebook by someone else, and your face being recognized, cataloged, and tagged (and if the EXIF data on the photo includes it, cross-referenced to a time, date, and location) without your consent.


Then your problem is with that person, not Facebook.


RE: This is why...
By Iaiken on 6/8/2011 2:44:20 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Then your problem is with that person, not Facebook.


Who is quite possibly a total stranger that you would then need to contact in order to have the tag removed.

This basically mandates that you constantly scour Facebook to remove unwanted appearances in 3rd party photographs or turn the feature off completely. Even then, there have been times where Facebook has changed features back to on after people explicitly set them to off.


RE: This is why...
By Reclaimer77 on 6/8/2011 2:53:49 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Who is quite possibly a total stranger that you would then need to contact in order to have the tag removed.


Umm that would only be possible if you checked "everyone" on your access list. Like I said, Facebook isn't responsible for you not knowing how to secure you profile and set access lists.


RE: This is why...
By Iaiken on 6/8/2011 3:04:38 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think you get this...

Even if you set your access list to totally private... Facebook can tag you in one of my pictures despite us not knowing each other. Hell, I can tag people who are not on my friends list, I've had friends tag their friends in my pictures as well. Basically, all of your account settings fly out the window once a 3rd party is involved or even someone who is on your friends list.


RE: This is why...
By Reclaimer77 on 6/8/2011 3:11:12 PM , Rating: 2
How in the hell would my image realistically be tagged in a photo uploaded from someone I don't even know?


RE: This is why...
By Iaiken on 6/8/2011 3:26:07 PM , Rating: 2
You're coming around slowly...

I can tag a photo of someone who is not you, as you as long as I know your name. I've received tag requests from people who were complete strangers to me, but who knew my friends.

I've also received automated suggestions from the new system for tagging pictures of people who look like me as me from complete strangers.

Basically, the power and reach of this system is what makes it so intriguing to me. For my next experiment I will probably just grab 100+ stock photos of people from the local news to see if it will ID them correctly for me.


RE: This is why...
By Iaiken on 6/8/2011 2:39:23 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Ok take the tin foil hate off. That's frankly absurd. Companies are not waiting around in the hopes that you will make a Facebook account and upload photos so they can, at some point in the future, exploit you. Don't you see how fear is clouding your judgement here? Come on!


Do you even have half a clue in your head about how Facebook makes money? If you have a Facebook account, then Facebook is already exploiting all of your demographic information (regardless of weather it was involuntarily provided) for a profit. It's basically a "self-serve" advertising engine driven by your likes as well as those of the people in your social circles. From here on out it is just a matter of refining profiles and how it targets people.

It's an established fact that Facebook is keeping information on non-users. If you have ever received an e-mail or SMS request from a friend to join Facebook then they have stored that data. I have a friend who is super anal about this as every time he has to write Facebook customer service and ask them to delete this information from their system and they send him back a confirmation including a list of the data that was deleted.

Curious about this, some other friends and I did an experiment where we made up a name to tag him by in my pictures. We then and created an empty profile for him named "Iaiken Forabeer" who has since been deleted. By virtue of adding him to only my friends list, Facebook was able to link all of our photo tags of back to this phony profile. The new profile had no pictures of it's own, and I tagged a single photo of him under the phony name. By the next day he was tagged in almost all of the photos of all of my friends despite him not being on any of his friends lists.

Conclusion? Without having provided any information beyond a name and a single friend request, he was tagged across six other accounts and was receiving advertising related to the likes of several layers of friends removed.

Personally, I think it's genius and I think it's only a matter of time before the website becomes more arcane and sophisticated in it's abilities and operation. This is basically a cautious respect for something that is becoming more than it was yesterday with every passing day. I mean really, why stop at recognitions of faces when you can just as easily recognize brands that you should be pimping out to those faces? and at a profit no less!


"I'm an Internet expert too. It's all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired." -- North Korean Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il

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