Thursday, December 16, 2010

Facebook Launches Facial Recognition; How long Until Police Want To Have Access To "Find Terrorists" (or G20 protestors)

"Facebook this week made the process of tagging multiple photos a bit easier by adding facial recognition technology.

Going forward, Facebook will examine newly uploaded photos and compare them to other photos in which you or your friends are tagged in order to make tagging suggestions.

"When you or a friend upload new photos, we use face recognition software—similar to that found in many photo editing tools—to match your new photos to other photos you're tagged in," Facebook said in a blog post. "We group similar photos together and, whenever possible, suggest the name of the friend in the photos.""

PC Mag - Facebook Adds Facial Recognition to Photo Tagging

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And the official word from facebook:

The Facebook Blog - Making Photo Tagging Easier

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I will refer you to my article:

Toronto Police Using Facial Recognition Software To Find G20 "Most Wanted" for some commentary.

This is handy, but problematic from a privacy standpoint. How long until someone does a mash-up of this software and begins applying it to other picture databases? Really - I have tech guy friends that have already built systems that will monitor cameras at public events like football games or trade shows and tell the sponsors about the demographics of the crowd. They are already using it to look for known troublemakers at concert venues.

Because facebook is all about giving advertisers access to your preferences and social networks, how long will it be before people can buy access to facial recognition routines, run them against an event database, and come up with your name and contact information? And then sell that contact info to those advertisers for affinity marketing and such?

Then there are the applications for a big brother state rooting out terrorists, or even more heinous, political protesters (like at the G20) who might dare to challenge the oligarchs. Funny how the police can manage to use facial recognition software to find protesters, but are having such a hard time finding out which officers beat protesters so severely their face bones were broken...

Then there is the application of facial recognition software to all those amateur nudie pics and bar flash pics floating around on the intertubes...

It's a whole new ball game.

And it's coming quickly.

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At least this answers the question of why, the last time I updated my facebook profile picture, it automatically selected my face for photo cropping and not my girlfriend's face from the picture I used. I tried it a couple of times and concluded it must be doing some kind of facial recognition. Now I know.

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