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Facebook turns on facial recognition

Turns on face tag feature in stealth mode
Wed Jun 08 2011, 09:47

PRIVACY SHREDDING Facebook just keeps pushing, it seems, and it has attracted criticism again for having launched a facial recognition system without telling anyone.

The security consultancy Sophos was one of the first to call out Facebook's addition to its features, as opposed to, say, Facebook itself.

"Now might be a good time to check your Facebook privacy settings as many Facebook users are reporting that the site has enabled the option in the last few days without giving users any notice," wrote Graham Cluley of Sophos.

"There are billions of photographs on Facebook's servers. As your Facebook friends upload their albums, Facebook will try to determine if any of the pictures look like you. And if they find what they believe to be a match, they may well urge one of your Facebook friends to tag it with your name."

This is pretty 'creepy', according to Cluley and probably anyone else who thinks that this sort of thing is invasive, and the man from Sophos added that once again it will be up to the individual to stop it.

"Remember, Facebook does not give you any right to pre-approve tags. Instead the onus is on you to untag yourself in any photo a friend has tagged you in. After the fact," he explained.

Sophos and Facebook regularly appear in the same sentence and recently the former wrote to the social notworking outfit and implored it to make privacy the default. We can't say where Facebook filed that letter, but it seems that Cluley is convinced that it was ignored.

"Unfortunately, once again, Facebook seems to be sharing personal information by default. Many people feel distinctly uncomfortable about a site like Facebook learning what they look like, and using that information without their permission," he said.

"The onus should not be on Facebook users having to 'opt-out' of the facial recognition feature, but instead on users having to 'opt-in'."


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