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Facebook Facial Recognition Raises New Privacy Concerns 159

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the but-i-have-a-pimple dept.
c0lo writes "Now might be a good time to check your Facebook privacy settings as many Facebook users are reporting that the site has enabled the face recognition in the last few days without giving users any notice. Once again, Facebook seems to be sharing personal information by default, instead on users having to 'opt-in'. Some other comments and an interesting reaction from Google and how to get around/disable it."
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Facebook Facial Recognition Raises New Privacy Concerns

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  • How This Happens: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by causality (777677) on Wednesday June 08, 2011 @10:13AM (#36374494)

    Facebook Admin 1: It's like they'll just keep coming back, keep using our services, no matter what we do to them.

    Facebook Admin 2: Strange. Might as well take advantage of it while it lasts. Let's share more of their data by default then.

    • by itchythebear (2198688) on Wednesday June 08, 2011 @10:18AM (#36374556)

      Facebook Admin 3: Hey check it out, I'm gonna reset itchythebear's notification settings again!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SirAstral (1349985)

      This is proof that you either do not work in IT or you are at the bottom of the totem pole. Admins don't make very many decisions. Admins find problems and fix them after they have approval from their managers. I have yet worked for a company that has let their Admins make a decision anywhere that big on their own.

      This was an IN YOUR FACE managerial action!

      On a side note, it also proves why people are stupid and perfectly explains why everyone keeps electing liars into office. After a couple hundred year

      • by causality (777677) on Wednesday June 08, 2011 @10:32AM (#36374782)

        This is proof that you either do not work in IT or you are at the bottom of the totem pole.

        If you want to nitpick, I have the perfect solution. Copy my previous post into a text editor. Substitute "Manager" for "Admin". Now you have your own perfect copy and can move on to the point I was making about their userbase.

        • That works for me! but you have to admit, nitpicking is entertaining!

          • by causality (777677)

            That works for me! but you have to admit, nitpicking is entertaining!

            Hah. I won't deny having done it myself, though it's more appropriate on some occasions than it is on others.

    • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Wednesday June 08, 2011 @10:38AM (#36374846)

      You don't know how right you are.
      Check out these IM's from Zuckerberg himself [businessinsider.com]:

      Zuck: Yeah so if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard

      Zuck: Just ask.

      Zuck: I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS

      [Redacted Friend's Name]: What? How'd you manage that one?

      Zuck: People just submitted it.

      Zuck: I don't know why.

      Zuck: They "trust me"

      Zuck: Dumb fucks.

      • by improfane (855034)

        I quit Facebook ages ago. If GP's quote from Zuckerberg doesn't convince you there are plenty of reasons [slashdot.org] to not use Facebook.

        I predicted facial recognition being used for nefarious purposes [slashdot.org] so it's no surprise to me.

      • by Stregano (1285764)
        Here is another quote from that article "Mark really does believe very much in transparency and the vision of an open society and open world, and so he wants to push people that way. I think he also understands that the way to get there is to give people granular control and comfort. He hopes you'll get more open, and he's kind of happy to help you get there. So for him, it's more of a means to an end. For me, I'm not as sure." See, I would not mind everything being open, but the issue here is that Zuck ha
    • Re:How This Happens: (Score:4, Interesting)

      by AmiMoJo (196126) <mojo@woCURIErld3.net minus physicist> on Wednesday June 08, 2011 @10:43AM (#36374908) Homepage

      They have already apologised for it: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-13693791 [bbc.co.uk]

      My bet is they planned to just turn it on and apologise later because it would still be more profitable than trying to get everyone to switch it on voluntarily. Also some great free publicity for their new feature.

  • by paro12 (142901) on Wednesday June 08, 2011 @10:23AM (#36374638)

    I get that once again Facebook has opted people into a new feature, but I'm not sure I get what all the anger is about. As far as I can tell, all this does is allow people who you have already accepted as friends to make it easier to tag their photos... Please somebody explain the downside to me. Its not like the same people couldn't have tagged you anyway, they just would have had to do it manually. I know I for one am excited by this since it makes the process of uploading pictures that much quicker.

    • How about because no matter how benign you believe some piece of information is, should you NOT have the right to dictate how its is used?

      Just saying!!!

      • by gnick (1211984)

        Once you've voluntarily handed that data to Facebook, then no, you don't get to dictate how it's used. Check the EULA. Hate to play devil's advocate, but that's the way it works, sorry. Even if somebody else shares data that bears your exact likeness, your issue is with the person that shared it, not Facebook. I'm not a huge FB fan, but I'm not sure they're stepping outside their bounds here, even though it feels uncomfortable.

        Just saying!!!

        • I agree with you, I was only trying to explain to the other poster that despite agreeing to the EULA that no one reads because they can't be bothered to do, people still are going to want to make that decision for themselves.

          Even if 80% of the people want to do something they are still going to want to make the decision for them self instead of a suit. It's basic human nature.

          Remember the housing bubble and they called the lender "Predatory"? Well they should have read their contract and because there are

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Actually, Facebook allows you to remove you name from tags. It sends me an email when someone tags me and I then go remove the tag. I don't get many notifications of this because most people don't seem to bother doing the tags. However if the tags are automatically offered to people, then I will get more notifications and have to do more work to go delete the tags. So, I turned the feature off a couple of weeks ago when it first showed up in the profile.
          • by Niggle (68950)

            Actually, Facebook allows you to remove you name from tags.

            Question: Do you believe that the tag is actually removed or that it is merely not displayed any more.

            I'd like to believe it's the former, but suspect it's the latter. Meaning that those tags can be re-instated or sold to anybody with a large enough cheque book at any point. Similarly, I suspect the facial recognition stuff runs on every picture but just doesn't display the tag options if you've opted out.

            I think your only real chance of combating t

        • by AmiMoJo (196126)

          Facebook has to comply with the law, so they will remove stuff if required and in the UK meet their limited obligations under the Data Protection Act.

      • You can still remove tags apparently. What they are doing is using technology that makes something 95% of their users are doing easier, namely uploading pictures and then tagging all their friends in it. I don't see the problem.

    • by second_coming (2014346) on Wednesday June 08, 2011 @10:28AM (#36374722)
      The correct way of implementing this would be the next time you log in it asks whether it is ok to turn this feature on (with a proper explanation of the pros and cons of doing so). That way the average user of Facebook would be able to make an informed decision as to whether they want it on or off.
      • by AmiMoJo (196126)

        Turn it on/off for who? Your face in other people's photos, or all faces in photos you yourself upload?

        They eventually added a privacy option to block other people from tagging you in photos (although they still can, it just doesn't link back to your profile any more). That is what needs to happen here too.

    • by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday June 08, 2011 @10:42AM (#36374902) Homepage

      I get that once again Facebook has opted people into a new feature, but I'm not sure I get what all the anger is about.

      So, let me give you a thought experiment.

      Say I don't have a Facebook account now (which I don't). But, say, Facebook has turned on facial recognition for all of the existing users (which they have).

      So, this weekend if I go downtown to where all of the bars and nightlife are, and I start snapping pictures of people doing various things. Quietly, and unobtrusively mind you.

      Now, say I create a facebook account with false profile information, solely so I can upload pictures of people I don't know doing various (and possibly stupid) things. You're no longer some random, mostly anonymous guy in a picture which could have been anywhere ... you're Bob from Detroit. And that guy with the crack pipe is your friend Dave and he's got an outstanding warrant.

      By Facebook opting you in to having facial recognition done on you ... how many random people I have never met would be covered by them doing facial recognition on my pictures and associating them with you?

      They opted you into something which potentially has fairly broad privacy implications. And, since they have it, the governments might subpoena them for the underlying data so they can feed it into their own system that keep track of citizens (and, they'll make sure Facebook doesn't tell anyone).

      Is my example somewhat contrived and a little extreme? Absolutely. Do I think it's a plausible scenario? Sadly, yes.

      The point is, they enable a lot of information gathering about people that can happen without any knowledge or consent. Which is what Facebook does every time they add a new feature. And, which is why I won't use Facebook.

      • by paro12 (142901) on Wednesday June 08, 2011 @10:55AM (#36375076)

        So, this weekend if I go downtown to where all of the bars and nightlife are, and I start snapping pictures of people doing various things. Quietly, and unobtrusively mind you.

        Now, say I create a facebook account with false profile information, solely so I can upload pictures of people I don't know doing various (and possibly stupid) things. You're no longer some random, mostly anonymous guy in a picture which could have been anywhere ... you're Bob from Detroit. And that guy with the crack pipe is your friend Dave and he's got an outstanding warrant.

        If this is the case, then yes I have a huge problem with it. But thats not the way facebook works (yet)...By my reading, it will work as with most other aspects of Facebook. If you have set it up so only friends can view your profile information, pictures, etc. then in only those peoples uploads will you be autotagged. If you allow friends of friends, or groups you belong to to see your information then those peoples uploads will contain your data, etc.

        • by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday June 08, 2011 @11:10AM (#36375284) Homepage

          If this is the case, then yes I have a huge problem with it. But thats not the way facebook works (yet)

          Well, given all of the news coverage from Facebook over the last few years ... I simply don't trust them to not suddenly make this information public in another few months. Not a little. They have a repeated pattern of deciding all of your information should be public ... the solution is to give them nothing.

          And, really, it would be naive to think they haven't done it in the background and even if they haven't (yet) decided to show information to un-linked persons ... when the DHS shows up to them with a subpoena and a picture of someone and says "give us everything you have on this and if you tell anybody you go to jail".

          Even the governments who claim to be bastions of freedom and democracy (I think we all know who I mean) have been shady about this kind of stuff. So, you'll forgive me if I have no trust whatsoever for Facebook in this regard.

          Hell, didn't Google just decide not to roll out facial recognition because it opened up too many privacy issues?

          Regardless of what it looks like to a given user, there's likely far more information sitting on Facebook's servers than they'll admit to. I think someone should start stalking Zuckerburg and his family and friends to be sure as much of their private information is made public .. that's more or less what they're doing to everyone else.

          • by wrook (134116)

            Like a lot of other things with Facebook, Google and the like people are getting worried at the wrong thing. If you are a normal person on Facebook, there are hundreds of photos of you. Your friends are happily tagging them with your name. So now Facebook has this huge database of faces and names. And we can see that they can implement automatic facial recognition. But people are upset that the information is being shared with their friends without notice.

            That really shouldn't be the issue. The issue

          • by AmiMoJo (196126)

            I would imagine law enforcement and security services will be insisting on getting that data. Actually the security forces probably already have.

            One of the reasons that the last government in the UK wanted to introduce biometric ID cards was pressure from MI5 and the police to capture all that data so they could match it up to photos and CCTV automatically. They already have a pretty good idea where anyone with a mobile phone is at any given time, and of course the automatic number plate (license plate) rec

        • If you have set it up so only friends can view your profile information, pictures, etc. then in only those peoples uploads will you be autotagged. If you allow friends of friends, or groups you belong to to see your information then those peoples uploads will contain your data, etc.

          And in order to know whether your pics show friends or random strangers, they've got to do facial recognition on everybody. Then, in order to not have to do FR on every pic every time you make a new FB friend, they've got to store all that info. They just won't make it public.

          That is, they won't make it public until everybody's got past this latest privacy flap, then all of a sudden there'll be a new /. post "Facebook using facial recognition to autotag everyone, not just friends."
          That doesn't even get in

      • By Facebook opting you in to having facial recognition done on you ... how many random people I have never met would be covered by them doing facial recognition on my pictures and associating them with you?

        None, because presumably none of them are friends with you.

        Typical Slashdot knee-jerk reaction.

        • by gstoddart (321705)

          None, because presumably none of them are friends with you.

          Typical Slashdot knee-jerk reaction.

          How so? Just because they're not my friends, doesn't mean that the facial recognition won't attempt to assign whatever token or ID to a given face it's going to do.

          They've already done the recognition at that point, and it's very likely if it matches anybody in their database, that record is present.

          They may not show it to me, but it's been done. It's not like the algorithm is going to say "well, I'm only going

          • by b4dc0d3r (1268512)

            It's not like the algorithm is going to say "well, I'm only going to compare this face to faces in your group of friends".

            And you know this because you wrote the algorithm? The intent is to make tagging your friends easier. I find it hard to believe it would compare every user it has rather than just the subset which are your friends.

            It could certainly be applied in the way you think it is, and might be in the future, but you can't put an assertion like that one out here as support for your paranoia. Esp

            • by gstoddart (321705)

              And you know this because you wrote the algorithm?

              I know this as best as I can because one of the links in TFS says so [cnn.com].

              Facebook's more than 500 million users have been automatically included in the database, but the company is allowing each person to choose whether to be identified by toggling a pane in the account's privacy settings.

              The tool would still scan that person's face and figure out who it is, but it won't display that information. People can still manually tag friends.

              The linked article could be

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I get that once again Facebook has opted people into a new feature, but I'm not sure I get what all the anger is about.

        So, let me give you a thought experiment.

        Say I don't have a Facebook account now (which I don't). But, say, Facebook has turned on facial recognition for all of the existing users (which they have).

        So, this weekend if I go downtown to where all of the bars and nightlife are, and I start snapping pictures of people doing various things. Quietly, and unobtrusively mind you.

        Now, say I create a facebook account with false profile information, solely so I can upload pictures of people I don't know doing various (and possibly stupid) things. You're no longer some random, mostly anonymous guy in a picture which could have been anywhere ... you're Bob from Detroit. And that guy with the crack pipe is your friend Dave and he's got an outstanding warrant.

        By Facebook opting you in to having facial recognition done on you ... how many random people I have never met would be covered by them doing facial recognition on my pictures and associating them with you?

        You're definitely overestimating the capabilities of current facial recognition technology. There is no way for them to sort through EVERY facebook user and figure out who was in that picture you snapped at some night club. What it can do, and what it does, is go through your list of friends and compare the faces in the pictures you took to pictures they have already posted and automatically tags them.

        Once again: This only works for your already existing friends and greatly simplifies the process of tagging

      • I haven't seen anything yet on this scenario: what if you AREN'T a Facebook user (yes, there are a few of us) but you're tagged in pictures? (Facebook users can tag non-Facebook users). Will this feature suggest that friends tag you when you appear in new pictures that they upload?

        If so, how would a non-Facebook user opt-out?

        Of course this problem starts with the ability to tag non-Facebook users, so it's not a new intrusion - it's one that's existed for some time.

        • I'd like to see an answer for this as well. I wasn't even sure if you could tag non-users in photos. If this is the case, I hate Facebook even more, and can only hope they get raped by a class action lawsuit. The term 'ZuckerBorg' seems more fitting with each passing day.
      • by mpe (36238)
        So, this weekend if I go downtown to where all of the bars and nightlife are, and I start snapping pictures of people doing various things. Quietly, and unobtrusively mind you.
        Now, say I create a facebook account with false profile information, solely so I can upload pictures of people I don't know doing various (and possibly stupid) things. You're no longer some random, mostly anonymous guy in a picture which could have been anywhere ... you're Bob from Detroit. And that guy with the crack pipe is your f
    • My first reaction was the typical, "Oh, great. Where's the privacy setting on this, because I'm killing this, ASAP." But on second thought, I'd much rather have this feature enabled.

      With this feature, I'm more likely to notice if someone uploads a picture of me, and then I can take a look at it and make sure it's something I'm OK with being posted. Without the feature, if someone uploads a photo of me and doesn't tag it, I'll probably never know. But the photo will be out there, and there's nothing to stop

  • by AtomicJake (795218) on Wednesday June 08, 2011 @10:27AM (#36374708)

    This could also be a Slashdot poll: How many IT pros (Web designers do not count, sorry) do you know who have a FB account?
    Personally, I do not know any ...

    • by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday June 08, 2011 @10:32AM (#36374772) Homepage

      I don't personally have an FB account ... but I do personally know literally dozens of professionals in the IT/consulting industry with FB accounts.

      I fear we may be increasingly in the minority for this.

      Hell, I know people who use their FB account to ask peers technical questions ... just throw out a general "anybody know this?".

      • by TubeSteak (669689)

        Hell, I know people who use their FB account to ask peers technical questions ... just throw out a general "anybody know this?".

        Isn't that what IRC is for?
        That's where I go when I'm bedeviled by a regular expression that refuses to do my bidding.

    • I do web design/programming (among many other things) and have no social media accounts.

      I know my boss is on Facebook, but he says he uses it as little as possible (IT manager, former programmer). He has no other social media accounts.

      I can't think of any other people I know in IT with social media accounts.

    • by gnick (1211984)

      FriendFace [wikipedia.org] accounts, however...

    • by Yvan256 (722131)

      How about a more direct poll: Do you have a Facebook account yes/no.

      And the next one, same thing but for Twitter.

  • by SydShamino (547793) on Wednesday June 08, 2011 @10:30AM (#36374746)

    I broke down, gave up, and made a facebook account last night. Apparently that's what I have to do if I want to keep up with my friends, rather than just sit home, alone but for Warcraft and Netflix.

    Their security options were extensive and relatively easy to navigate. It did seem that they were asking the same questions over and over, where they could have just asked me once about some things and been done with it. I could see that someone not so good at diligently following each and every link on the page could accidentally leave some setting at default.

    Overall it seemed fine, as long as I keep apps turned off. That I can live with.

    • by nschubach (922175)

      I had an account at one time. You have to check those privacy settings every so often because they can change without you being aware. I got sick of it and told my friends that they can always IM me.

      • Ugh, I hated IM just as much. Maybe more. With IM I lose any sense of detachment because I have to respond right then.

        • by nschubach (922175)

          To be fair, I have an Android phone, so IM'ing me gives me an alert (like txt'ing) but I never feel the need to respond immediately. If they ask, "I didn't hear the notification." (Which isn't always a lie. I tend to keep my phone on low/vibrate and respond when I please.)

    • by Dynetrekk (1607735) on Wednesday June 08, 2011 @10:46AM (#36374946)
      I know you're honest. You can't have been a facebook user for more than one night :) They'll reset and modify your settings soon enough, young one.
    • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Wednesday June 08, 2011 @10:54AM (#36375072)
      Why do you need Facebook to keep up with your friends? You could try actually spending time with them, talking to them, etc.
      • by gstoddart (321705)

        Why do you need Facebook to keep up with your friends? You could try actually spending time with them, talking to them, etc.

        As one of the last remaining hold-outs not using Facebook ... it's actually surprising to hear from friends just how much they see updates from other friends. They can pretty much tell you what a bunch of people all did over the last few weeks, because they see the status updates. They share pics of their kids, or what have you.

        When I get together with them, it's like "so, what have

        • This. (I hate using that, but apparently it's the only way to get the idea across in this day and age that I agree with your post and find it rings very true.)

          However, I don't generally mind. So I'm a little 'left out' because people have to ask me what I've been up to. Big deal, I can tell them right there and then. If that means they stare in boredom until finally something I did interests them (which otherwise they would have filtered from status updates), so be it. If nothing else, maybe it'll open

          • However, I don't generally mind. So I'm a little 'left out' because people have to ask me what I've been up to. Big deal

            Yeah, that was 15 years of my life. And now I decided I'd rather not be isolated any more, and this feeling of being 'left out' bothers the hell out of me. So I fixing it with (*coughs and looks sad*) facebook.

        • by causality (777677)

          If all of your friends are using Facebook as the primary way keep people up to date ... sometimes you find yourself being a little out of the loop. Not that I'm going to open a Facebook account ... but sometimes it's hard not to notice this stuff.

          Taking a stand based on your principles and your sincere beliefs usually does have a price tag. That's why most people would rather cave in and later rationalize that they did it of their own volition and not due to pressure of one kind or another.

          Just appreciate

      • by causality (777677)

        Why do you need Facebook to keep up with your friends? You could try actually spending time with them, talking to them, etc.

        I appreciate what you're trying to do, but it's not going to work.

        What you're doing there is sort of like going back in time and trying to tell the Spanish Inquisition that maybe they shouldn't torture people to death on the basis of flimsy accusations with no evidence. Yes, you're right, but they're not likely to listen.

      • Few of them live near me. And the ones that do don't necessarily have a lot of the same hobbies. And most people my age don't check their email as often as they used to, instead relying on facebook...

    • The issue isn't that they are hard to set up once, the issue is they randomly undo themselves, change the settings and refresh everything back to default open without telling you. Now personally the way I do it I don't see a problem, I sign up, I have one generic picture of myself that people who know me would be able to recognize me, my name. I don't post anything I wouldn't be ok with my boss, girlfriend, future employers and any other person I might possibly see one day knowing.
  • by GameboyRMH (1153867) <gameboyrmh@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Wednesday June 08, 2011 @10:32AM (#36374786) Journal

    My facebooktard family is always posting and tagging pics of me at family gatherings, I knew facial recognition to auto-tag people in pics was the next step...maybe next they'll make "info pages" for nonexistant users, that will practially be an "unmanned" facebook profile filled with 3rd-party information, that you can sign up to claim at any time...great...

    • by Ambvai (1106941)

      Hi Bob,

      We just noticed that your friends and family have 4986 photos with you in it! There are embarrassing baby photos, pictures of your drunk college days and even two videos of that porno you made with that sorority girl (You might want to post on her memorial page, may she rest in peace.) too! Join today and keep everybody else from from telling what you've been up to!

    • by janestarz (822635) on Wednesday June 08, 2011 @10:46AM (#36374948)
      The Person you tagged as being Jane Starz does not have a Facebook account. However: We have found these e-mail addresses, a blog, a Flickr page, twenty-nine forum accounts, pictures from their childhood and two criminal records .
      [ ] Would you like to use our handy app to contact this person?
      [ ] Would you like to create a Facebook page for this person and add all this data to the page with Just One Handy click?
      {Submit} {Cancel} (Wait, that's actually also a submit button, but never mind. Just say yes.)
      • by wrook (134116)

        The buttons are:

        {Submit}{Fail}{Retry}

        Where {Fail} and {Retry} simply reload the same page...

    • Yes, this is the thing that bugs me as well, about the whole concept of social media offered by companies that think information about friends/associations should be a commodity... There's no way to opt out as others provide information about you even if you don't participate.

      Maybe we can get "Do Not Track" barcodes tattooed on our foreheads.

      I'm half serious about this (OK, maybe not the tattoo part) -- some creative RMS or legal type needs to come up with some shrink-wrap-like default privacy opt-out agre

      • The tech to do it exists. All you need is a Do Not Track system and something like a more simple, long-distance-readable QR code.

        The problem is that the Do Not Track system is nothing more than a gentleman's agreement. Once a company decides to break it, it's worthless. Like a Do Not Rob sign.

  • I mean, after all, it is called Facebook.

    But I have to give it to Zuckerberg. I am logging into Facebook much more often now - even if it is only to change my (new) privacy settings, again, and again, and again ...

    • Zuckerberg is a pseudo-intelligent assbag that was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and has no qualms about stealing peoples ideas. Hes an unethical dill-bag jerk and has minimal principals. He represents the worst stereotype of a "Jew" that anti-Semitic people believe in. Im not one of them, but I would think as a Jewish person he would want to NOT be this way. I understand he now is an atheist or whatever, but god damn he is an asshole. "Im CEO Bitch" on his business cards says it all.
  • by curio_city (1972556) on Wednesday June 08, 2011 @10:41AM (#36374878)

    Every time somebody tags a user in a photo, the user is notified and can untag him/herself.

    The algorithm uses images that have already been tagged as X person for the reference. Tagging the wall behind you, or your pants, etc., should confuse the inputs enough to prevent good matches. This affects facebook's ability to find and recognize photos of you, which is slightly separate from other users' ability to find photos of you, since facial recognition indexing will occur even if you untag yourself or "opt out".

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      This seems like it would make it a very good thing when people post all these grids of "funny" pictures which they then tag with their friends' names...

    • by wjousts (1529427) on Wednesday June 08, 2011 @11:12AM (#36375308)

      Every time somebody tags a user in a photo, the user is notified and can untag him/herself.

      And if somebody tags a photo of you and you are not a user (IIRC, a Facebook user can tag any picture with your name, even if you are not a Facebook user yourself)? How does Facebook notify you? How can you untag it?

      Answer: you can't.

      Next question, if Facebook is using facial recognition, does it work on non-users? If somebody tags a photo with the name of a non-user, will it look for other photos of that non-user and try and automatically tag them?

      The scary part is that Facebook has a profile for you, even if you have never visited Facebook. Notice all those "Like" buttons on your favorite websites - unless you are never accept cookies, Facebook already has a profile built up for you just in case you decide to join sometime in the future. How nice of them!

      • by zoney_ie (740061)

        I'm sure someone in the EU could take a case against them. When they notify you that a friend wants you to join, I am sure the later reminders they send are long after they should have deleted your email address. Additionally they seem to link a circle of potential "friends" with your email address ("you may also know") - some of whom are unrelated to the friend who gave Facebook your email. Finally they have your real name too (again courtesy of your friend).

        As far as I know, this kind of thing is illegal

      • by Luthair (847766)
        Except that Facebook needs to know the specific John Smith. There are far too many people with the exact same names to be able to tag people without profiles. Sure, there is some hand waving about narrowing it by social circles, but look at how far reaching friend suggestions generally are.
        • by wjousts (1529427)
          But (if you read my comment further down), if I already know what you look like (for example, I just interviewed you for a job) and I search for "John Smith" and come across a picture in your "friends" public profile that I immediately recognize as you, and it has you in a compromising position...it could be a problem. Sure it's might be a bigger deal if your name is "Egbert Havernshorham III".
  • It's easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission.
  • I don't really see the problem with this one. Is it so bad that my friends are allowed to know what my face looks like? Is that how scared of everything we've become? I know it's pretty crappy the way Facebook quietly defaults everything to public, but in this case I'm not quite sure what the problem is. If it's just the fact that you don't get a say in who tags you in what, that's a very very old (albeit legitimate) problem.
    • by dcollins (135727)

      Well technically, you do have control over who tags you in what (or even if tagging you is allowed at all). What you don't have control over is people uploading pictures with you in them, or general comments to that effect.

    • by Combatso (1793216)
      I think it will be interesting... does it just do friends faces or all faces? Some of the group shots where I have no idea who was with me at concerts, parties, etc.. would be interesting to know who they are... ofcourse, not so cool if someone could take a picture of a random stranger and find out who their name.
      • by AHuxley (892839)
        Astonishing Tribe had Recognizer, there was Face Match, think back to Operation Nobel Shield. Add in the Local Feature Analysis (LFA) vs the hinted at speed of nodal point databases and the known US populations size - public and private facial recognition is getting interesting, cheap and very fast.
        Your face and someone who is a friend of a friend ... could be on a list. A one person list, a private firm or government - once they have you connected with a pic you uploaded?
  • by Combatso (1793216) on Wednesday June 08, 2011 @10:59AM (#36375128)
    holy jumpin jesus! they shold have called it FACEbook... oh wait
  • It seems the government can save money by eliminating Witness Protection now that global facial recognition is available via Facebook. It's only a matter of time before someone figures out a way to scan all users, not just friends or people that opt in.
  • by I)_MaLaClYpSe_(I (447961) on Wednesday June 08, 2011 @11:26AM (#36375506)

    ...since it depends on the commons sense of all your friends. What could possibly go wrong?

    I permanently deleted my facebook account a few weeks ago: a worm was spreading very fast through facebook and for over a week I could not notify facebook about the issue.

    The worm spread via event invitations containing a link to a site that social engineered the people into copying Java script code into their browser so that it would steal their account credentials and propagate further. And facebook does not provide you with any means of contacting anybody at all, let alone from the security team! Instead, you are dependent on those buttons that let you report inappropriate messages or such. Only those event invitations did not have such buttons. I wasted dozens of hours trying to notify them about the scheme but finally gave up and deleted my account.

    I learnt one thing: the privacy concept of facebook is fundamentally flawed as your own private data that you share with friends and family is dependent on the common sense of these friends. It needs only one of them to be stupid enough to follow complex procedures of copying JavaScript code because they think they could find out who viewed their profile or such to completely compromise your privacy.

    I for one am outta there. And if you look closely enough, you find a hell of a lot worms and security vulnerabilities in facebook.

    • by timeOday (582209)

      the privacy concept of facebook is fundamentally flawed as your own private data that you share with friends and family is dependent on the common sense of these friends

      Don't blame facebook; that principle is fundamental to security in general. If you share a secret with somebody not trustworthy (whether they're malicious, incompetent, or unknowingly compromised), the cat is out of the bag. DRM faces the same problem; how can I distribute data to people who pay me yet restrict them from redistributing i

      • Sure, anybody can social engineer your friends into telling them private information about you. However, the big difference here is the tool (Facebook) that enables the attacker to automate this process in the form of a self replicating social engineering worm affecting millions of users without you having to be specifically targeted by a social engineer.

        Do you see the problem here?

  • I was initially concerned about this until I read up on what it does. Honestly, in the scheme of things this feature is fairly benign. Anyone who who recognizes you won't need this feature to tell them who you are. You can't control what photos others are posting and what are people doing to do with this anyway, especially if you've got other privacy settings locked down.

    The fact is, if you're concerned about privacy you shouldn't be on Facebook to begin with.

    And from what I've been told it's quite impressi

  • without giving users any notice

    Um, http://www.facebook.com/facebook [facebook.com] If you don't follow what they are doing, you can't say that they gave you no notice. In particular - https://blog.facebook.com/blog.php?post=467145887130 [facebook.com]

    Its clearly posted so anyone can see what's up

  • by mmcuh (1088773) on Wednesday June 08, 2011 @12:29PM (#36376334)

    All the three-letter-agencies that have access to the database almost certainly have been running facial recognition on it for years. Making it visible to users doesn't make it much worse, if anything it's good. Maybe people will start thinking about the consequences of uploading photos of themselves, their friends, their families, their homes etc.

    Or maybe not.

  • It had to be posted, at least 1000 times.

  • Leaning towards the tin-hat side, and not trusting govt or even big business any farther than.. well.. practically none.. I believe Assange when he says FB is a hideous tool of data collection for the govt, but even worse than this, the masses are populating data and beta testing software that will eventually allow every camera on every streetlight, ATM, convenience store and mall to identify and monitor us. What comes next..I dont know, but it scary to think that there will be very few places where you wil

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