Since 2011, Facebook has implemented facial recognition technology for their “Tag Suggest” function. This software allows Facebook users to see when they appear in a newly added photo. The software matches new photos with items in its database of tagged photos for each user, which allows the program to put a name to the face. Facebook has recently expressed its intention to expand the scope of the software to include profile photos.
The software is intended to facilitate transparency, according to Facebook’s chief privacy officer, Erin Egan. She says that the software’s ability to match photos to names provides users with the tools to discover when photos of them are uploaded to the web by another user. She makes it clear that any user who is opposed to this technology has the ability to opt out and to exclude their profile photos from the database. Her argument, however, has not convinced some skeptics. This software’s existence has raised red flags for several privacy organizations and government officials; and regulators in Europe have chosen not to allow this feature at all.
This software, while interesting and possibly helpful, makes some people uncomfortable. Many wonder what dangers might appear in the future as a result of facial recognition software. Some even fear cooperation between Facebook and other entities, though Facebook resoundingly denies such theories. To get the full story, click here.