Saturday, June 09, 2018

FB Wants You To Opt In To Face Recognition - For Your Good, Not Theirs (Yeah Sure)

I got a notice from Facebook about managing my settings.  One was about personalizing ads and the second one was about letting Facebook use Face Recognition.  Here's what it said.  (For the visually impaired, I've written out the text in this image below.)

So, they want us to leave face recognition turned on so they can warn us if someone is using our pictures falsely.

As if that's the only reason they use it - to protect us.  I just don't believe that.  I googled to see how FB uses facial recognition and the results are vague, and I suspect incomplete.  But others are suspicious too.

USA Today has an article that supports my concerns.  It says in part:

"The question of whether you should let Facebook save your face is gaining in urgency as it  moves to expand its deployment of facial recognition, rolling it out in Europe, where it was scrapped in 2012 over privacy concerns and scanning and identifying more people in photos.
At the same time, the giant social network is attempting to quash efforts to restrict the use of facial recognitionin the U.S., from legislation to litigation. And consumer groups are asking the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Facebook's widening use of the technology.
The biggest threat to Facebook’s collection of facial recognition data is a class-action lawsuit in California brought by three Illinois residents who are suing Facebook under a state law, the Biometric Information Privacy Act, one of only two in the nation to regulate commercial use of facial recognition."
Later the article says:
"Facebook’s facial recognition technology analyzes photos and videos to create a unique "template" to identify you. The technology is a shortcut that scans photos to suggest names of friends to tag.
The company says it has no plans to make people's facial recognition data available to advertisers or outside developers. But the more Facebook can glean from users’ photos about their interests, activities and social circles, the more precisely it can target advertising.
Facebook says it has tight control over its database of people's likenesses. Even if someone were to obtain a "template," it does not function like other face recognition systems.
'When we provide our biometric information to Facebook, we don’t know where that information is going,' Electronic Frontier Foundation senior attorney Jennifer Lynch said. 'Facebook says: 'Trust us to keep it safe.' But Facebook has shown time and time again that it makes the wrong choices when it comes to protecting users' data.'"

The fact that this explanation of why we should leave face recognition on ONLY talks about  how face recognition helps us and not how it helps FB should be a giant red flag.  This announcement makes it seem the whole purpose is to protect us.  That already is terribly misleading.

But for those who put their pictures up regularly, I'm sure the option to leave face recognition on to protect from stranger danger, is probably compelling.  Undoubtedly, some folks will be alerted to someone impersonating them (or at least their image.)  But billions more people will be giving up their faces for whatever ways FB comes up with to use them to make more money.

*For those who can't see images and whose text readers can't read text on images, here's the text of the image above:

Face Recognition
Before you manage your data setting, these examples can help you decide what choice to make.

  • Face recognition technology allows us to help protect you from a stranger using your photo to impersonate you or tell people with visual impairments who's in a photo or video through a screen reader. 
  • If you keep face recognition turned off, we won't be able to use this technology if a stranger uses your photo to impersonate you. If someone uses a screen reader, they won't be told when you're in a photo unless you're tagged.


  1. Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Thanks for the heads up. I don't google my name very often (it's creepy), though I've told folks to google "What Do I Know?" and 'blog' and that still works.(Just tried it.)
      Also you can subscribe to the blog [Upper Right] and get an email when there's a new post.
      And yes, I end up copying my error filled comments, deleting them, editing them elsewhere,, then opening a new comment and pasting the new one in. Then I check preview before hitting publish. I can edit posts, but not comments.

  2. Replies
    1. I've gotten notices that the blog has to have a disclosure on it about privacy practices in Europe. It seems Google (who bought Blogspot after I started here) has automatically put one up.


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