Facebook has announced a new facial recognition feature that will automatically let users know when they appear in any video or photo even if they haven’t been tagged in first place. Sounds like a cool feature. Sounds like a security feature. But chances are that this is not a feature that will keep your Facebook profile, and your privacy, safe. Instead it is a creepy feature that Facebook may use for in creepy new ways in future. And that is why while some regard this feature harmless, privacy advocates are not happy about it.
In fact, Facebook is scanning photos to identify people for a while now. It already has a database on millions of people that it can use for face scanning in photographs. But the company is also facing some heat in the court over this and just two days ago failed to get out of the case. It was told in the US court that it must be subjected, as one news report put, “to a class action lawsuit about its biometric gathering and storage program” because it didn’t tell users about the face scanning.
So a day after the court observation, Facebook started telling people that their faces are getting scanned in photos all the time. Here is what the company said
” Hi ABC, we’re always working to make Facebook better, so we’re adding more ways to use face recognition besides just suggesting tags. For example, face recognition technology can do things like:
— Find photos you’re in but haven’t been tagged
— Help protect you from strangers using your photo
— Tell people with visual impairments who’s in your photo or video
You control face recognition. This setting is on, but you can turn it off any time, which applies to features we may add later.”
Sounds useful. But it’s not. First thing, Facebook says that the feature is switched on by default. This means that even if you don’t explicitly give your consent, or miss Facebook’s message, the face scanning for your user profile will be on by default. You have to opt out to stop this.
Second there is the problem of future. Facebook says that it will add more features to it in future. As this technology will evolve, it will be matter of big concern how Facebook is using all this data.
Facebook says that its technology analyses the pixels in photos youre already tagged in and generates a string of numbers what it calls a template. When photos and videos are uploaded, it compares those images to the template. In simple words, the social media is collecting all your data and recognising your face to create a database for its own use. Doesn’t it sound creepy?
Facebook says that it is currently using the Face recognition technology only for tagging purpose but it has also kept the doors open for more advancements. But that is for future.
For now if you want to switch off Facebook face scanning feature — and ideally you should switch it off — here’s how you can do it.
– Log into your FB account.
– Go to Account Settings.
– Go to Face recognition settings
– Say no to Facebook’s question, “Do you want Facebook to be able to recognise you in photos and videos?” Now close the dialog box and you have successfully disabled the feature.