Facial Recognition on Facebook

I agree with this general assessment of Facebook

Brad Shimmin, an analyst with Current Analysis, said it’s clear that Facebook hasn’t learned any big lessons from its previous privacy brouhahas .

“Facebook’s repeated methodology of opting all users into new services, particularly services with potentially damaging ramifications, demonstrates a certain disregard for the security and privacy of its users,” Shimmin said.

There is no excuse for Facebook. They just fail and fail again. An opt-in system could be very easily advertised by them. What possible reason could they have to make it an opt-out?

The Facebook blog post does not hide the fact that they want their users to have to dig their way out of facial recognition software.

When you or a friend upload new photos, we use face recognition software (similar to that found in many photo editing tools) to match your new photos to other photos you’re tagged in. We group similar photos together and, whenever possible, suggest the name of the friend in the photos.

If for any reason you don’t want your name to be suggested, you will be able to disable suggested tags in your Privacy Settings. Just click “Customize Settings” and “Suggest photos of me to friends.” Your name will no longer be suggested in photo tags, though friends can still tag you manually.

What’s the supposed benefit of facial recognition technology on a social network platform? Let’s say you are the type of person who uploads a lot of photos of the same person…

Instead of typing her name 64 times, all you’ll need to do is click “Save”…

They are offering to save time for a certain type of user. It does not by any means justify an opt-out philosophy for automatically tagging everyone else, given the risk and privacy issues.

Google built but never launched a facial recognition service. The company was worried about its potential for abuse, says Google chairman Eric Schmidt.

Facebook’s system also brings to mind the problem of what happens if every face in every picture is the same? In other words how long before a clever artist builds a flashmob holding up masks with a picture of someone else to get it automatically tagged hundreds or even thousands of times?

This seems like the obvious answer and a great way to protest the opt-out:

Introducing the Mark Zuckerberg Halloween Mask

Now you too can look like the man who says his plan to “become a vegetarian” is killing and eating animals.

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