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The Potential Danger of Facebook ‘Tagging’

The Potential Danger of Facebook ‘Tagging’

Wonder why Facebook is so enthusiastic about tagging everyone, especially on their faces? They are amassing a huge database of facial profiles that can be linked to an array of personal information. Over 500 million people around the world have willingly uploaded – and basically given – Facebook about 90 billion photos, which in this data-driven, security-obsessed era means Facebook is sitting on the nest that offers one golden egg after another. To tap into this nest of golden eggs further, Facebook acquired Face.com, a company that specializes in facial recognition technology, which only confirms the conclusion of unprecedented research undertaken by Carnegie Mellon University that Facebook “has essentially become a worldwide photo identification database.”

The idea being developed — and not just via Facebook — is that you (or the police, the FBI, CIA, marketing firms, evildoers or whomever) will be able to hold up a smart phone in public and scan each face as it walks by. Facial recognition technology, in fact, is already being used by the private sector in high-end stores who seek to identify celebrity shoppers when they walk in the door. Next, they will be identifying you.

Not only will the facial recognition software/app tell you with stunning accuracy who each person is, it will also likely be able to link to private info like addresses, phone numbers, employers, who your friends are and if you went to college.

If you are wondering how I know about this, I was at a blogger conference in Park City, Utah and one break-out session was titled, “What is the Social Network Technology of the Future.” This face-tracking scenario was described as inevitable, despite privacy concerns. It was noted that Facebook, which had struggled to find a way to monetize its service, is perfectly poised to make mega-bucks from the massive amount of data they are accumulating through our own innocent consent.

One way around this is to not tag — or to tag a non-descript section of the photo like a background tree, which is what I now do, when I do choose to tag. Of course, refraining from posting personal photos is the best option, but: a) what fun is Facebook if you cannot post photos and b) you cannot control what your Uncle Bob, roommate or teenage friend decides to upload and tag. You can also visit the privacy setting on your Facebook page and partially opt out of tagging features — but this feature will not prevent Facebook from mining biometric information in your photos.

Unfortunately, it is too late for me. I have dozens of facial photos tagged with my name and subsequently Facebook already recognizes me, as evidenced by Facebook’s seemingly friendly offer to tag me in untagged photos.

What once seemed like an innocuous gesture (facial tagging) and a great way to share photos with friends and family, now seems increasingly creepy. With the direction that facial recognition technology is going, 17th century masquerade parties are starting to look a lot more inviting.

To read more about the growing privacy invasion via Facebook check-out:

Why Facebook Home bothers me: It destroys any notion of privacy

Facebook Facial Recognition: Its Quiet Rise and Dangerous Future

Why Facebook’s Facial Recognition is Creepy

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Read more: Community, Conscious Consumer, Family, Life, Teens, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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Cherise Udell

Cherise Udell is a mom, clean air advocate, anthropologist and feline aficionado with the nomadic habit of taking spontaneous sojourns to unusual destinations. Before her adventures in motherhood, she was an intrepid Amazon jungle guide equipped with a pair of sturdy wellingtons and a 24-inch machete, as well as a volunteer at a rainforest animal rescue center.

169 comments

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4:09AM PDT on Aug 2, 2014

Thank you

3:11AM PDT on Aug 1, 2014

Thank you

1:03AM PDT on Aug 31, 2013

thanks

1:43PM PDT on Aug 28, 2013

Kathy P.,

The economics of Facebook and probably growing up with electronics and The Internet playing such a huge role in life, yet not educated with importance of Human Rights and The USA Constitution and critically examine something has you biased to create the blind-spots to The Civic Liberties Violations and Etc. that goes on with it.

8:27AM PDT on Aug 28, 2013

if i didn't have facebook I wouldn't sell nealry as much and my business pays the bills. I just got a huge order via fb yesterday, so sorry but it is a tool that (when used correctly) is valuable. Just be smart

4:18PM PDT on Aug 24, 2013

I could NOT agree more with B J. (probably because I have not experienced enough of The Internet's Websites); however, I still do have problems with WWW.CARE2.COM and there are some things they have to improve, but nothing (including websites) are perfect.

9:07AM PDT on Aug 24, 2013

Don't post on fb or anything besides C2.

7:41PM PDT on Aug 18, 2013

too creepy...

9:44AM PDT on Aug 16, 2013

I could not agree more with Jessica.

5:16PM PDT on Aug 15, 2013

People who say you shouldn't complain about Facebook because it's "free" have no understanding of the value of personal information. Interesting article; thanks.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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