Facebook Facial Recognition Wants to Manage Your Identity


In a Facebook "newsroom" post entitled "Hard Questions: Should I Be Afraid of Face Recognition Technology", Deputy Chief Privacy Officer Rob Sherman compares the new tech to Kodak cameras in 1888. Users will need to change it to "Friends", and the Photo Review will be turned on. Although this is the first official announcement that the company is moving more intensely towards facial technology - and perhaps farther away from previous forms of individual security as it skews more towards control over one's presence - facial recognition has always been a part of Facebook's platform.

Now, if you're in a photo and are part of the audience, Facebook will notify you, even if you aren't tagged.

Facebook users will be able to tag themselves in images posted elsewhere in the social network, or express concerns about pictures to people who post them, according to Candela. The new feature is largely an attempt to curb fake accounts and "catfishing", the act of using someone else's identity in an attempt to mislead others. The complaint was filed in IL under the state's Biometric Information Privacy Act, a law that prohibits the collection of biometric data without prior consent and one of the few legal barriers to using facial recognition in the US.

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The company said in a statement that it was making the feature optional to allow people to protect their privacy, but that it thought some people would want to be notified of pictures they might not otherwise know about. Countries which have not yet permitted the technology have voiced concerns about the facial recognition data, and how the company complies with various privacy laws overall.

To Facebook's credit, the company plans to implement a meaningful level of control: It has implemented a global on/off switch to avoid facial recognition entirely. We're doing this to prevent people from impersonating others on Facebook. "The template is the reference we use to recognize you in photos".

The feature would not immediately be available in Canada and the European Union, Facebook said. "Without the template we cannot recognize you in photos".