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Facebook Facial Recognition Under Scrutiny In Norway 29

Qedward writes "Certainly not the first country to raise concerns, but Facebook's facial recognition feature will now be investigated by the Norwegian Data Protection Agency. Last year, Facebook added the ability to use facial recognition technology to help to tag images as a default feature to users worldwide. Ove Skåra, communications manager at the Norwegian Data Protection Agency or Datatilsynet said: 'Facial recognition, is a technology that it is important to have critical view of, and see how it is actually used.' Outside of Europe, U.S. Senator Al Franken, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee's privacy subcommittee, called on Facebook to turn off the feature by default in July."
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Facebook Facial Recognition Under Scrutiny In Norway

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  • by Rei ( 128717 ) on Thursday August 09, 2012 @09:15AM (#40930419) Homepage

    If I'm not mistaken, doesn't FB learn what you look like based on photos that you've been tagged in?

    So couldn't you, for example, consistently mistag yourself (or even a complete stranger) if you wanted to confuse it? Oh, sure, your friends might wonder why Facebook keeps suggesting that you get tagged whenever a picture of the president's dog shows up, but...

    • by Trepidity ( 597 )

      I believe that's the case, yes, but it might be harder than that to fool it. It's likely that it ignores things that don't look like human faces when building its model, to weed out the "joke" tags, like when someone tags an inanimate object as one of their friends. So if you kept tagging a dog, it might discount those data points. You'd probably have to consistently mistag another human face as you, and ideally the same person (if you tag a bunch of different people as you it might discount those as spurio

    • That only works if all your friends cooperate.

    • Or, if you're serious about privacy, just don't use facebook or don't upload any photos of yourself.

      • You don't have to upload photos of yourself - there are always those school photos that pop up (where you would offend a bunch of people if you untag yourself) or random photos by other people you didn't even notice being taken... I'd say not using facebook is the only way to protect your privacy, unless you live in a deserted island.
        • You worry about offending people that publicly distribute photographs of yourself without permission? I think you've got your priorities wrong.

          You can even disallow being tagged on facebook (it requests your confirmation, and you can just deny every request).

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        If you create an account it will immediately suggest people you might know when you first log in. That suggests that Facebook is already building shadow profiles of people based on names mentioned and unknown faces in photographs.

        • I think the earier explanation, is that those profile's oweners submited YOUR address book to facebook, so as soon as you registered, facebook already knew that you were in their address book.

    • Yeah, but that kind of defeats the point of Facebook's extremely powerful photo sharing systems, though.

  • But Datatilsynet themselves want to survey anything that is posted on the internet by Norwegians. This does not make sense.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Norwegian here who actually studies shit, but Datatilsynet is actually the agency who has been most strongly critical towards the EU directive and is one of the leading governmental institutions in the world when it comes to protecting personal privacy. The privacy directive that was crafted at Oslo University in the late 1970's on the request of the parliament, was used as the basis for Norway's digital privacy laws and served as a template for many other European countries.

      Basically you're full of shit an

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The Norwegian Data Protection Authority is now led by Bjørn Erik Thon. Thon was the leader of the Norwegian Consumer Council which in 2007 outlawed Apple's iTunes store for it's DRM, as noted by Slashdot:

    He succeeded back then.

God helps them that themselves. -- Benjamin Franklin, "Poor Richard's Almanac"