Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Facebook Facial Photo Recognition Software Option Already Implemented in The USA, is Scaring Some European Union Users

By Cesar Ortiz
Facebook quietly launched the photo-tagging feature in the USA last December and facial recognition technology first appeared as a feature on the site in October. The roll-out happened slowly, only 5% of stateside users at first and then a gradual build-up to the rest of the Facebook USA users is in place. At this time, USA residents, may or may not have the option implemented. In the USA it has been fairly quiet. On Europe, it began a quiet launch of the feature this week but it has been received with a different loud and strong attitude.

On Wednesday afternoon, the European Union (E.U.) data-protection regulators announced a probe to investigate whether the social network's new feature violates privacy rules. "Tags of people on pictures should only happen based on people’s prior consent and it can’t be activated by default," said a Luxembourg official in Businesses Week, adding that the regulators intend to "clarify to Facebook that this can’t happen like this”. In addition to the E.U. probe, officials in the United Kingdom and Ireland are looking into this practice.

When your friends upload a single picture or albums, Facebook scanners will determine if someone in the picture looks like your profile facial picture or any other facial picture of you in your account. If a match is found, your friends will be requested to tag it with your name. The tagging is done by your friend, not Facebook. If you don’t like this option, or to check if it has been implemented in your geographical area, perform the following steps:

-Go to your Facebook account and select “privacy Settings.
-Select “Customize settings”.
- Under "Things others share" you should see an option titled "Suggest photos of me to friends. When photos look like me, suggest my name". Select “Edit settings”. At this point, if Facebook has enabled auto-suggestion of photo tags, you will see that the option says “Enable”.
- Change it to "Disabled" if you don't want Facebook to work that way.
-Select “OK”

This photo recognition function, along with other embedded auto-executable scripts may be used for other purposes and explains why you receive suggestions of adding friends, even when you have not told them you are even in Facebook. If they post a picture with you on it, you will receive a message requesting that someone may want to be your friend. We must realize that Facebook is not a public service or a charity, it is a very high income producing business, therefore, the more photos, the more people look at them and more advertising can be placed near the photos. The more friends you have, the bigger the chances for Facebook to generate income.

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