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  (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 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!


"If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else." -- Microsoft Business Group President Jeff Raikes














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