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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RE: This is why...
By Iaiken on 6/8/2011 2:44:20 PM , Rating: 2
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
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.

"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard
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