Facebook has implemented facial recognition on its platform, and all you have to do is sign over your face.
For the low, low cost of free — insofar as “free” constitutes permission to access, store, and use your face — Facebook will add another layer of convenience to the largest data harvesting experiment in history. With the new facial recognition features, the lumbering social media network will alert you to uploaded photos in which you are featured — so long as you are in a group permitted to see them by the uploader. It will also work to prevent catfishing and revenge porn by alerting you when your face is in someone else’s profile picture. Finally, the features will allow visually impaired users to identify who is pictured with them.
In a Facebook “newsroom” post entitled “Hard Questions: Should I Be Afraid of Face Recognition Technology,” Deputy Chief Privacy Officer Rob Sherman compares the new tech to Kodak cameras in 1888. He assures us that Facebook will not use the features to give strangers (other than Facebook, of course) our identities, and explains the “all or nothing” approach to the feature which will, rather than allowing you to specify how your information is used, merely decide whether to turn it on or off. Thinly disguised as ease-of-use, the “on/off switch” mandates that to enjoy any of the benefits, you must accept all of the network’s terms.
Counter-surveillance expert Adam Harvey, famous for his anti-tracking makeup and fashion accessories, has a very different take: “When any information is co-opted for security purposes it becomes less secure to share,” Harvey told Gizmodo. “For example, sharing your mother’s maiden name online would not be a good idea. Likewise, Facebook’s proposed facial recognition product would make sharing your face online a security issue, even more so than it already is.”
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