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
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
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.
quote: Then your problem is with that person, not Facebook.
quote: Who is quite possibly a total stranger that you would then need to contact in order to have the tag removed.