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Facebook Re-enables Tag Suggestions Face-Recognition Feature In the US

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the trying-to-be-helpful-in-a-really-creepy-way dept.

Facebook 98

An anonymous reader writes "Facebook has brought back its photo Tag Suggestions feature to the U.S. after temporarily suspending it last year to make some technical improvements. Facebook says it has re-enabled it so that its users can use facial recognition 'to help them easily identify a friend in a photo and share that content with them.' Facebook first rolled out the face recognition feature across the U.S. in late 2010. The company eventually pushed photo Tag Suggestions to other countries in June 2011, but in the US there was quite a backlash. Yet Facebook doesn't appear to have made any privacy changes to the feature: it's still on by default."

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I guess all those natives were right (4, Interesting)

eksith (2776419) | about a year and a half ago | (#42765727)

A camera really can steal your soul.

Facebook is a good idea taken way too far and a userbase that refuses to acknowledge that fact. If we've learned anything from history, people are more than willing to go along with anything that even includes physical assault for the sake of recognition. A little violation of privacy is no sweat.

Re:I guess all those natives were right (3, Insightful)

poetmatt (793785) | about a year and a half ago | (#42765777)

facebook has said they endorse apple's "complete control" model. So anyone who trusts facebook after that, is making a big mistake - not one they weren't already warned of.

Just like viruses, it's going to get a lot worse before people start figuring out what to do about it and what not to do. It's still in the "only the technical people who get it are saying stop using it" category.

Re:I guess all those natives were right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42765821)

Yes, because having your face recognized in a photo that you already appear in, to people who already know you, is almost exactly like having your soul stolen or being physically assaulted.

Re:I guess all those natives were right (5, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42766035)

having your face recognized in a photo that you already appear in, to people who already know you

Such naivety! One has to marvel!

Within a couple years every face will be identifiable on line in every picture you take whether or not you know the person or not, even if that person does not have a facebook account.

Face recognition plus Graph Search means nobody is safe from they prying eyes of facebook.
If the FBI/CIA/NSA/Scotland Yard tried to set this up, world plus dog would be howling in protest.

(Oh, and before you spout any privacy protections, let me offer a loud scoff of derision in your general direction: HA!)

Re:I guess all those natives were right (2)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year and a half ago | (#42766139)

Face recognition plus Graph Search means nobody is safe from they prying eyes of facebook.
If the FBI/CIA/NSA/Scotland Yard tried to set this up, world plus dog would be howling in protest.

The difference is that Facebook is "opt-in". You know, "don't like it, don't use it". That sort of thing.

Re:I guess all those natives were right (4, Informative)

Digicaf (48857) | about a year and a half ago | (#42766243)

Except that it's not. People can, and will, tag you in a photo without your general awareness. I believe you can even tag people without an account.

Re:I guess all those natives were right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42776949)

Hmm. I wonder which one of my 12 pseudonyms it will connect the photo with? Or which person of several thousand with the same name as my real one? Anyone who uses their real name on the intenet is a moron.

Re:I guess all those natives were right (4, Informative)

oxdas (2447598) | about a year and a half ago | (#42766271)

But Facebook has already admitted to creating "shadow accounts" for people who have not opted in. They still track their behavior through like buttons around the internet unless you surf with noscript, etc.They still try to learn faces, habits, etc. and they also sell the information.

Re:I guess all those natives were right (3, Interesting)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year and a half ago | (#42766281)

From Summary:

Yet Facebook doesn't appear to have made any privacy changes to the feature: it's still on by default.

..."opt-in"...

You keep using that phrase, but I do not think it means what you think it means...

Re:I guess all those natives were right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42766465)

You keep using that phrase, but I do not think it means what you think it means...

It means exactly what the parent said. Some people like you just need to hate something to feel validated as a human.

Re:I guess all those natives were right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42774431)

No, what GP said is called opt-out: the option is enabled by default and you can opt-out of it.

Opt-in is if it is off by default and you have the liberty to enable the option.

In our topic here, its on by default now but can be opted out therefore we speak of opt-out.

GP turned them around. Parent corrected it, in a short and civil manner. AC still doesn't get it and has to make an ad hominem remark.

Re:I guess all those natives were right (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year and a half ago | (#42786411)

As much as I try to avoid pointless rhetorical attacks, I feel this one is appropriate:

You are an idiot. Learn how to read, idiot.

Re:I guess all those natives were right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42767403)

You're smart!

Re:I guess all those natives were right (5, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | about a year and a half ago | (#42766321)

That's not the problem. The problem is when it becomes searchable. Your potential new employer does a search and comes up with that picture from a high school party you didn't know was taken. You know, that party where you knew exactly one person out of the 50 or so there? The one that, as you are about to find out, was also attended by the person who later went on to become a notorious drug dealer (who you never even noticed). Sorry sir, BozoBank international doesn't hire people who party with known felons.

Wouldn't you have preferred to remain just that anonymous guy sitting in the background looking like he's about to bail on the lamest party ever?

Re:I guess all those natives were right (2)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | about a year and a half ago | (#42766089)

Pretty easy to defeat this. Tag yourself as other people in all of your friend's photographs. The multiple sources will break the facial recognition database.

Re:I guess all those natives were right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42766317)

Or they'll just recognize your source of input as outside the bounds of expected deviation and ignore your tags.

Re:I guess all those natives were right (3, Insightful)

s.petry (762400) | about a year and a half ago | (#42766359)

That would actually be a great opensource project.. Hmmmm.. the "break my recognition project". "How come this Gerald Whazzisname" looks like a baseball? Well commander, that's what all our searches return.

Re:I guess all those natives were right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42767015)

Let me put on my thinfoil hat before I start. Let's break this shit up and screw this pervasive face recognition Big Brother scheme. We have to start thinking about way to fight back before it's too late. I think we have to behave like water and use facebook to turn it around itself.

Re:I guess all those natives were right (2)

davester666 (731373) | about a year and a half ago | (#42769761)

I wonder how many goatze images would need to be uploaded and tagged as zuckerberg before it becomes the definitive photo of him?

Re:I guess all those natives were right (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42766523)

What I wouldn't give for a Laughing Man virus right about now...

Re:I guess all those natives were right (1)

Lincolnshire Poacher (1205798) | about a year and a half ago | (#42769953)

Pretty easy to defeat this. Tag yourself as other people in all of your friend's photographs.

Unfortunately that would require me to create a Facebook account.

Rock vs hard place: accept that I will be tagged without consent, or submit to the machine and try to fight it.

Re:I guess all those natives were right (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | about a year and a half ago | (#42774553)

If you don't have a facebook account, then they can't swear that the tag is you. Could be somebody else of the same name. Only works if the tag *ties to your facebook account*.

Re:I guess all those natives were right (1)

Wrath0fb0b (302444) | about a year and a half ago | (#42766343)

Facebook is a good idea taken way too far and a userbase that refuses to acknowledge that fact. If we've learned anything from history, people are more than willing to go along with anything that even includes physical assault for the sake of recognition. A little violation of privacy is no sweat.

Sorry dude, but this is not physical assault unless the person is taking the photo of you in a private place (e.g. dressing room, shower) or from a place where he doesn't have the right to be (e.g. trespassing). At least in the States, it is well within photographers' First Amendment rights to take and disseminate photos, including by attaching meta-data such as face-tagging and publishing them online.

See, e.g. Lambert v. Polk County (1989) [google.com]

From such a finding it would also follow that the taking was a taking of Lambert's property without due process of law and that it also clearly violated his First Amendment right to display the tape and disseminate it in any way he wishes. (It is not just news organizations, such as WHO-TV, who have First Amendment rights to make and display videotapes of eventsâ"all of us, including Lambert, have that right.)

Re:I guess all those natives were right (4, Informative)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a year and a half ago | (#42766401)

It goes far, far beyond even what you're thinking:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2187801/Were-watching-The-camera-recognise-Facebook-picture-time-walk-shop.html [dailymail.co.uk]

Facebook is putting their own cameras in public with built in facial recognition software. They will track everywhere you go, what you do while you're there, what you buy, what you eat, what you look at and don't buy. Every single thing you do will be logged in their databases, and then sold to... well... pretty much everyone. How much do you want to bet their biggest customer will be the federal government?

It appears that Orwell was off by about 30 years when he wrote 1984.

Re:I guess all those natives were right (1)

arob28 (2025644) | about a year and a half ago | (#42767095)

It goes far, far beyond even what you're thinking: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2187801/Were-watching-The-camera-recognise-Facebook-picture-time-walk-shop.html [dailymail.co.uk]

Facebook is putting their own cameras in public with built in facial recognition software. They will track everywhere you go, what you do while you're there, what you buy, what you eat, what you look at and don't buy. Every single thing you do will be logged in their databases, and then sold to... well... pretty much everyone. How much do you want to bet their biggest customer will be the federal government?

It appears that Orwell was off by about 30 years when he wrote 1984.

The article explicitly says that Facebook did not develop the system and that it is simply an app that uses Facebook's APIs. There's no need for you to mislead people by saying that Facebook is installing their own cameras.

Re:I guess all those natives were right (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42768013)

Just like google didn't mean to install hardware and software that stored everyone's mac address as they drove through town across the mfing globe.

Re:I guess all those natives were right (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a year and a half ago | (#42769119)

Your point is irrelevant and naive. Facebook most likely owns this company either directly or indirectly. Even if they do not, the effect is the same. "No no no, the guy shot you with a Remington pistol but the BULLETS were Winchester!!" I'm still shot, and you're still a fucking idiot.

Re:I guess all those natives were right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42769963)

Your point is irrelevant and naive. Facebook most likely owns this company either directly or indirectly.

Here's a hint: if you ever write "most likely..." then people will automatically think you're a fool. With good reason.

When you just invent "facts" because they support your argument we call that "lying".

Re:I guess all those natives were right (1)

haknick (2035324) | about a year and a half ago | (#42770031)

You're speaking the truth .... but his point is still fully valid

Re:I guess all those natives were right (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a year and a half ago | (#42769467)

Facebook is putting their own cameras in public with built in facial recognition software. They will track everywhere you go, what you do while you're there, what you buy, what you eat, what you look at and don't buy. Every single thing you do will be logged in their databases, and then sold to... well... pretty much everyone. How much do you want to bet their biggest customer will be the federal government?

Actually, don't you mean Google Glass? After all, everyone's all revved up about these little goggles that let you stay connected and all sorts of other things. But to do these things requires the input of a camera, which Google Glass has.

It's going to be interesting when everyone's packing a camera that's recording everything 24/7. At least if excitement over Google Glass proves true that everyone would be packing them

Hell, all Facebook needs to do is add an app to it, so between Google and Facebook, they got recordings on everyone at every time.

Re:I guess all those natives were right (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a year and a half ago | (#42775045)

I agree... Google is a problem as well. But Google has shown a surprising amount of insight into privacy issues. They're not letting next quarters revenue rule their decisions 100% of the time like Facebook and Apple do. All of Googles hardware so-far usually has the least intrusive prepackaged apps compared to other software platforms. Rooting their phones is very simple. I suspect Glass will be the same. If there is some sort of "Record everything" feature, it will be easy to turn off if it's like Googles other products. Is this perfect? No... but at least you can do something about it. If Facebook puts facial recognition cameras in every retail outlet in the country, there's not a lot you can do about that at all. The second you check out and run your credit card they've got you, regardless of if you have a Facebook account or not.

Re:I guess all those natives were right (-1, Offtopic)

vyrtguya (2830805) | about a year and a half ago | (#42766563)

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At least it makes sense now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42765767)

I mean, hell, it's in the name.

Welcome to the book of faces!

Re:At least it makes sense now (1)

Let's All Be Chinese (2654985) | about a year and a half ago | (#42766065)

It's for your own good, too. Lookit, the press release says so.

Is it 1984, or am I a conspiracy theorist? (3, Interesting)

TheDarkener (198348) | about a year and a half ago | (#42765789)

Perception causes me to believe that this "feature" is a double-edged sword. On the one side, it adds to the whole "social networking" thing. Find friends, recognize friends, connect with friends.

On the other hand, it is a massive crowdsourced facial recognition system that is incredibly difficult to stay away from, even if you refuse to be a part of Facebook (IIRC people can tag you in a picture by typing in your name). It's a f*cking privacy nightmare.

But what do you have to hide, huh? *grin....sigh*

Re:Is it 1984, or am I a conspiracy theorist? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42765897)

While you can tag people who don't have accounts, they won't be auto-tagged (obviously) and there's no way to search for them unless it's your own album -- so the stuff you're talking about has been unchanged since photo tagging first came out years ago.

Re:Is it 1984, or am I a conspiracy theorist? (3, Interesting)

ganjadude (952775) | about a year and a half ago | (#42766001)

Anytime my name is tagged, i get a email that asked me if i want the info published to my friends or not. BEFORE my name is added. This goes for posts and photo tags. I find this to be a fair trade off.

Re:Is it 1984, or am I a conspiracy theorist? (2)

bmo (77928) | about a year and a half ago | (#42766365)

Anytime my name is tagged, i get a email that asked me if i want the info published to my friends or not. BEFORE my name is added.

This. It's in your Facebook Privacy Settings, the ones that everyone who complains ignores.

How much of a false sense of security that is, is debatable. People have been posting pictures of themselves and friends publicly on the web since the days of Geocities and Angelfire (and before that, on small private and .edu hosts) with nary a .htaccess in sight. The lack of good search engines at the time provided a sort-of-quasi-obscurity in that stuff wasn't searchable but technology marches on.

Everything is crawlable now. Everything is indexable. If it's public, without .htaccess or even a robots.txt, then it's going to get crawled and indexed. Facebook is just a small corner of the "problem." If you don't want people seeing your stuff, don't post it. Tell your friends to not post pictures of you. That's the only real solution. If your friends have any sense of decency, they'll be polite and at least ask first (mine do).

But lastly, don't use your real name. This war on anonymity by Facebook, Google+ and other providers should be fought tooth and nail. Yes, it's in the TOS, but the TOS isn't there to protect you - it's there to protect the provider and the flow of money to the provider. Ignore the real name requirement. It's unenforceable - it's not like FB requires a photocopy of a valid ID.

--
BMO

Re:Is it 1984, or am I a conspiracy theorist? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42766839)

Facebook privacy setting make no difference since every new feature in Facebook makes something that was once private as public in some way.

Zuckerberg is such an asshole.

Re:Is it 1984, or am I a conspiracy theorist? (1)

bmo (77928) | about a year and a half ago | (#42767255)

It's like you didn't read the second paragraph or anything after that.

What Suckerberg might do is probably irrelevant in the larger picture.

--
BMO

Re:Is it 1984, or am I a conspiracy theorist? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42766855)

If I don't have a facebook account, I don't get these emails.

I don't have a "Facebook privacy setting" to change.

This is not the way it ought to be.

Re:Is it 1984, or am I a conspiracy theorist? (1)

bmo (77928) | about a year and a half ago | (#42767247)

You are pining away for the time before search engines.

That time has passed and gone, forever.

--
BMO

Re:Is it 1984, or am I a conspiracy theorist? (2)

sort uniq (2799399) | about a year and a half ago | (#42767069)

Not to blow this too far out of proportion, but you specifically mention that the information is published. I can't claim any knowledge as to how FB manages their data, but I find it a stretch to believe that they would delete this association in their databases. What's to keep them from turning these unpublished associations over to the government, advertising companies, or other undesirables?

Re:Is it 1984, or am I a conspiracy theorist? (3, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42766059)

While you can tag people who don't have accounts, they won't be auto-tagged (obviously) and there's no way to search for them unless it's your own album -- so the stuff you're talking about has been unchanged since photo tagging first came out years ago.

Such nonsense. That YOU can't search for some unknown face, doesn't mean some privileged few (perhaps with warrant in hand) can't search.

Re:Is it 1984, or am I a conspiracy theorist? (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year and a half ago | (#42766297)

Such nonsense. That YOU can't search for some unknown face, doesn't mean some privileged few (perhaps with a National Security Letter in hand) can't search.

FTFY.

Warrants are sooo 2002.

Re:Is it 1984, or am I a conspiracy theorist? (2)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year and a half ago | (#42766793)

That YOU can't search for some unknown face, doesn't mean some privileged few (perhaps with warrant in hand) can't search.

This fact is important. This "opting out" on facebook is just like all the other web tracking "opt outs" - you don't opt out of being tracked and cataloged, you opt out of being reminded that you are being tracked and cataloged.

I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42765827)

How exactly is your privacy "invaded" by having a photo of you tagged as you automatically instead of manually?

Re:I don't get it (2)

Wookact (2804191) | about a year and a half ago | (#42765885)

If it screws up and pastes my name on someone that looks like me?

If I never gave permission for my photo be used for commercial purposes?

If I don't want my name plastered all over the Internet?

If I no longer use facebook and wish to have nothing to do with it anymore?

I do not get why you think you should have the right to share photos of me without my permission. Especially with Facebook.

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42765929)

Uh, people can already screw up the tag and put your name on someone who looks like you. It has nothing to do with this feature. And you have no right to control where other people "plaster" your name...your paranoid privacy concerns end where their free speech begins.

Re:I don't get it (1)

Wookact (2804191) | about a year and a half ago | (#42766015)

Facebook's servers do not (at least should not) have freedom of speech. Since it is an algorithm that is doing the recognition it could easily place my name on someone doing something I do not approve of.

If a person does something it may be an innocent mistake, and it is likely that that person actually knows me. The software does not know me, so it might not recognize subtle difference in between me and say a twin brother,or cousin, or doppleganger.

Why don't you log in and start sharing your screen name?

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42766007)

1) While that is a legit concern, I don't see how it's a "privacy" violation. It's not you, so how is your privacy being affected? Also, you can remove auto-tags. Not to mention, accidental tags (or maliciously/jokingly incorrect tags) were possible years before, with or without auto-tagging.

2) The issue of auto-tagging has literally nothing to do with using your photo for commercial purposes.

3) + 4): I don't see how these concerns are even about Facebook, let alone auto-tagging (to which they're not even tangentially related). Does it also upset you that people can publish your name or photos in a blog without your permission? I never opted in to Google but searching me by name turns up all sorts of things about me that I didn't explicitly approve. Why is this not an outrage?

Basically none of your points are about auto-tagging, and most of them aren't even about Facebook.

Re:I don't get it (1)

Wookact (2804191) | about a year and a half ago | (#42766091)

How can I remove tags, if I no longer have an account? How do I find out that I am even auto-tagged?

Re:I don't get it (1)

penix1 (722987) | about a year and a half ago | (#42766295)

1) While that is a legit concern, I don't see how it's a "privacy" violation. It's not you, so how is your privacy being affected? Also, you can remove auto-tags. Not to mention, accidental tags (or maliciously/jokingly incorrect tags) were possible years before, with or without auto-tagging.

Privacy may be incorrect but reputation certainly isn't given that potential employers are increasingly using the damned thing for evaluation purposes. And you can only remove the tags IF you have an account and are aware of the tag.

2) The issue of auto-tagging has literally nothing to do with using your photo for commercial purposes.

It has everything to do with commercial purposes. You are forgetting that FB is nothing more than a data warehouse that they use to aggregate then sell to advertisers. If tagging allows them to combine you with someone else that is valuable data whether you are on FB or not.

3) + 4): I don't see how these concerns are even about Facebook, let alone auto-tagging (to which they're not even tangentially related). Does it also upset you that people can publish your name or photos in a blog without your permission? I never opted in to Google but searching me by name turns up all sorts of things about me that I didn't explicitly approve. Why is this not an outrage?

It is an outrage and Google does provide a means of "removing" yourself from their searches unlike FB. Once you are tagged, bagged on FB there is no way to get unassociated from their data aggregation. Everything from your political views to favorite color is evaluated, cataloged and stored forever for later re-evaluation for its potential to make FB money. That, after all, is why they exist.

Re:I don't get it (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about a year and a half ago | (#42766017)

well not for nothing if someone else took the photo you really have no ownership to you being in the photo. (unless its commercial of course) Not that I disagree with you, especially on your other points, but if I take a photo, and you are in it, you have no right to tell me what i can or cannot do with it, UNLESS i am getting paid off it

Re:I don't get it (1)

Wookact (2804191) | about a year and a half ago | (#42766073)

You are using that photo as payment for facebook's services. Therefore it IS a commercial transaction.

You do not have my permission to use it as such. Show the photo to your friends, to your family, donate it for a good purpose. I do not want my photo being used by Facebook. I am vehemently opposed to their business model, and I do not like the fact that they would "own" my image at that point. Placing my name on it, especially automatically and potentially incorrectly just makes it worse.

Re:I don't get it (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about a year and a half ago | (#42766129)

sorry but legally you are wrong. If I take a photo of you, i am allowed to do whatever I want with it, including posting it on FB, 4chan etc. I can give it to a newspaper for free, I can even post it on a billboard for free. I may not agree with it however it is the law, how do you think paparazi get to do what they do? do you really think britney spears gave her ok to gawker or whoever to post up photos of her vagina? I doubt it.

Re:I don't get it (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year and a half ago | (#42766419)

sorry but legally you are wrong. If I take a photo of you, i am allowed to do whatever I want with it, including posting it on FB, 4chan etc. I can give it to a newspaper for free, I can even post it on a billboard for free. I may not agree with it however it is the law, how do you think paparazi get to do what they do? do you really think britney spears gave her ok to gawker or whoever to post up photos of her vagina? I doubt it.

That's not universally true - pictures taken in a public space, like a park or on a street, yes, you can "do what you want" like the paparazzi do - that's how they get away with vag shots on celebrities, by taking the picture from a public street or sidewalk.

However, if the photo is taken candidly, i.e. on private land, or any setting in which there is an expectation of privacy, then no, you do not have the right to "do whatever you want with it." If you want to test this, feel free to walk into the dressing room of any clothing retailer, snap a few pics, then post them online.

We'll see you in 5-10.

Re:I don't get it (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about a year and a half ago | (#42766593)

well sure if we want to get to that point, clearly we were both talking about normal photos and not private photos. If you are at a party hitting a bong and I take a photo of you I can post that photo without issues, ask Micheal Phelps.

Re:I don't get it (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year and a half ago | (#42766669)

If you are at a party hitting a bong and I take a photo of you I can post that photo without issues, ask Micheal Phelps.

...

I think I'm just going to sit back and let this one sink in on its own...

Re:I don't get it (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about a year and a half ago | (#42766167)

Also I am not using a photo for payment, Did I have to post the photo to use FB? no , i didnt, therefore it is not payment

Re:I don't get it (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year and a half ago | (#42766439)

Also I am not using a photo for payment, Did I have to post the photo to use FB? no , i didnt, therefore it is not payment

Read the EULA - by agreeing to it, you are saying that you want a facebook account, and in exchange (i.e., payment), you will let them have universal rights to all media you post therein.

Granted, IANAL, but I don't think you have to be one to understand how slimeball capitalists operate.

Re:I don't get it (1)

Wookact (2804191) | about a year and a half ago | (#42766767)

In sum, if someone looking at a photograph would think that the person in it is promoting or endorsing a commercial product affiliated with the photograph, then the use is commercial. But since it sometimes is difficult to know if the use will be considered commercial or editorial, it's always a safer to get the model release.

I do not wish to endorse or promote the idea that I use or approve of the use of facebook. http://www.photoattorney.com/2006/02/commercial-vs-editorial-use-of.html [photoattorney.com]

Re:I don't get it (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year and a half ago | (#42766351)

How exactly is your privacy "invaded" by having a photo of you tagged as you automatically instead of manually?

You mean, aside from the fact that:

- I never gave permission for my image to be placed online,

- I was never asked by either facebook or the person posting the image if I was OK with it,

- The photos that other people put up of you may show you in an unflattering light, or doing something illegal, or supporting/protesting a policy/organization that your employer would take issue with, and thus impact your personal and/or professional life (just ask Micheal Phelps about that one)

- the possibility that the algorithm isn't perfect, and thus may accidentally start tagging, say, all pictures of hypodermic needles (or something equally questionable) with my name?

Other than those things and probably several others that I haven't thought of yet, no, no privacy invasion at all...

Contrary to what the social network profiteers want you to think, celebrities are not the only people who have a right to decide how and where their image is used.

What is the problem (1)

Old Wolf (56093) | about a year and a half ago | (#42765869)

So, what's wrong with face recognition on Facebook? How does this violate my privacy?

Re:What is the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42765941)

It doesn't. The Slashdot crowd just loves to overreact to every move Facebook makes.

Re:What is the problem (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about a year and a half ago | (#42765949)

Take a creepshot of some girl at the mall, upload it to facebook, and see if you get a hit.

Re:What is the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42766005)

Looks like it only works if you're already "Friends" with the girl, in which case she has bigger problems.

Re:What is the problem (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about a year and a half ago | (#42766033)

Maybe today but Facebook's already monetized sending messages to non-friends. How long until they charge $5 to do a "photo tag search" of non-friends?

Re:What is the problem (2)

idontgno (624372) | about a year and a half ago | (#42766565)

Actually, the real money-maker would be extortion: "CreepyDude1234 just asked to identify you in a picture. What's it worth to you for him not to find you?"

Re:What is the problem (0)

Midnight_Falcon (2432802) | about a year and a half ago | (#42765991)

Man walks out of a gay bar. Has picture taken by anti-gay vigilanties. Facial recognition allows them to find him on Facebook and show the picture to his family, forcing him to be "outed" and ending in a Tyler Clementi situation.

Countless other examples of how this can be used to severely harm people by parties who don't even know them..

Re:What is the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42766113)

You guys are morons. Obviously the auto-tagging will only find people in your friends list. Even if for some reason you thought Facebook would walk into the PR shitstorm you just described, a little bit of technical knowledge would tell you that classifying faces with photo recognition among all two billion people who probably have appeared in Facebook photos at one time or another is way, way outside of the state of the art. Even classifying it among the ~200 friends you have is very technically difficult.

Yet this is the third time I've seen this point made in this thread. Aren't Slashdotters supposed to have some amount of technical competency?

If a Facebook engineer could do what you just described, they'd be powering the world's military, not sharing photos of teenage girls.

Re:What is the problem (1)

Midnight_Falcon (2432802) | about a year and a half ago | (#42766393)

Thanks for the insults, AC. I am aware right now only "Friends" get matched in the database. However, I am very much aware about face.com's facial database that Facebook purchased, which NEVER required someone be within your "friends" and still did a pretty good job of matching it -- or at least, reducing the set of matches to something that can be discriminated by a human operator.

It's only a matter of time before the technology evolves so that it doesn't require the limitation of a set of "Friends" or "Connections."

Re:What is the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42768111)

only "Friends" get matched in the database

and how many people are actually careful of who they 'friend' on facebook?

plus, you know damn well that facebook will do all the automatic matching in the background, friends or not; and add to the "extended" profiles of users (the stuff they know but you don't know they know) and to the profiles they have of non-users, too.

captcha: watched

Re:What is the problem (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | about a year and a half ago | (#42766149)

Because being outed as gay is a negative? I find being a straight and a parent still married to my first wife to make me stranger than any homosexual.

Re:What is the problem (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year and a half ago | (#42766473)

Because being outed as gay is a negative?

Depends.

Live in northern CA? Probably no big deal. However, here in the Bible Belt, being outed can, will, and has in the past, cause a person to lose everything.

And, of course, there's seemingly no end to the stories of gay teens being outed at school, then killing themselves due to the subsequent abuse.

Re:What is the problem (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | about a year and a half ago | (#42766677)

Which I still find strange, because here in Oregon, it's WAY worse to be a heterosexual parent fouling up the environment with more human beings.

Or at least, that's the message I get from the environmentalists.

Re:What is the problem (1)

Old Wolf (56093) | about a year and a half ago | (#42769617)

Man walks out of a gay bar. Has picture taken by anti-gay vigilanties. Facial recognition allows them to find him on Facebook and show the picture to his family, forcing him to be "outed" and ending in a Tyler Clementi situation.

Any facial recognition software could do this. Maybe the government already does this. I have pictures of myself on my Facebook page. The CIA could already have crawled over Facebook building a DB of everyone's name and photo.

Also, people being accused of things they didn't do (as another poster suggested) is hardly anything new. I sympathize with American posters not having faith in their justice system to sort out the facts though, as it seems that whoever can hire the most expensive lawyers wins over there.

It's sad that you have to resort to trying to avoid attention in the first place in case you are accused of something (and also sad that nobody really seems to see the problem with this). The guy ranting about privacy violation in East Germany should be looking at that angle of it.

Re:What is the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42766045)

Alright John Boy, let's make a scenario. Making this up as I go. Imagine for sakes that there's a big election and your district is pretty much 100% for Candidate name Mister A. Now imagine some big brutes are for Candidate B in this election. They go to your district saying if I catch you voting, I'm going to do bad things to you and your family. Now what do you do? Go to the election place and get photoed and categorically tagged for being there or not go? Now imagine in the not too distant future that the big bad guy is not some random burly dude but he is the incumbent candidate. Your information getting out that you didn't agree to publish is causing damage to your privacy. Sure you're in a public place but was it really you there? Now there is documented automatic placement of your likes at a place and you cant do anything about the data.

Re:What is the problem (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42766127)

Wait for the knock at the door when something approaching your face appears in a photo at a street brawl, and the police find that someone tagged it because they thought it looked like you. All of a sudden you have to prove your innocence instead of them proving your guilt.

Re:What is the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42766239)

Maybe you don't want to be tagged in pictures? What if you don't have facebook and people still put pictures of you up?

Re:What is the problem (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42766929)

Old Wolf,
Your privacy is important when its absence delivers total power over a population to the state that rules you. Give away power on Monday, and the over-reaching oppressive laws will follow on Tuesday. Turn on the news any day of the week in any part of the world to see this happening incrementally right now.

It's a personal concern because my wife grew up in East Germany before the wall fell and I get to hear all the stories. Tales about:
-- Where it was illegal to listen to the radio or watch TV signals that crossed over the border. Only to be done alone by the brave, in the dark, very quietly with anything you learned from beyond state media punishable if shared or discovered.
-- Where if your kids told friends at school that they ate a western chocolate as a Christmas gift from an aunt, the police came knocking to find and punish the smuggler.
-- Where if mom or dad didn't fully cooperate with the brown shirts, they might disappear one night. Where not snitching on a neighbor was almost as bad as doing the crime yourself.
-- Where when children were sick or injured, they were forcibly put in hospitals without parental visitation rights until the kids were well again "for the benefit of the children" and your choice as a parent was to accept it or complain and risk imprisonment.
-- Where if a neighbor or colleague was arrested for a crime as silly as humming a western tune, you by association could become an automatic suspect for interrogation on the grounds of collusion.

The only thing that limited DDR domestic power was privacy, as it made building associations between members of the public difficult. It was hard to build up a complete social network of who knew who, and thus hard to disappear dissidents as thoroughly as the establishment desired. Why do you think Germans value privacy so much? Many still remember what it was like without it, and they know today that if East Germany had Facebook's power back in the day, then it might have survived to this day.

So wake up privacy haters. I don't care if *you* know my name and face, but when the face, name, favourite pizza toppings and shoe size of every human on earth is in one database, what awful things would the corporation or nation with this power *not* do to enforce its ideology or to maximize its concentration of wealth??

And before you say it, it has nothing to do with "Don't do anything bad and you won't have anything to hide". It's about "Things that were commendable yesterday might become punishable tomorrow".

Parting thought: Imagine how much more effective the German genocide would have been if they had Facebook and modern technologies to hunt down every Jewish, Gay and Black person. Then think about the extremists in the world today who *hunger* for this power at this very moment. Next consider how much you really trust those who are collecting all your data. Lastly, even if you do trust Facebook or Google today, do you trust the men with guns who might come knocking on their data center doors one day demanding the keys to the kingdom?

Please. Enough with the intellectual laziness which will doubtless lead to people saying I'm overreacting. History and current events prove that people do bad things with power - so don't allow it to concentrate if you value the future of our species.

Re:What is the problem (1)

Old Wolf (56093) | about a year and a half ago | (#42769595)

Thanks for ignoring my question.. I understand the issues of privacy. I don't see how this Facebook move invades my privacy. This has nothing to do with the bullet points you listed.

Activists should be most concerned (5, Insightful)

Midnight_Falcon (2432802) | about a year and a half ago | (#42765951)

If the FBI had access to Facebook's database during the days of COINTELPRO, it is doubtful the American Civil Rights movement would have ever occurred.

Facial recognition is an amazingly powerful tool for law enforcement when it comes to political adversaries -- imagine a scenario where local police and the FBI could just pop a photo into the special "Law Enforcement" console on Facebook, and find out who the person is, who their friends are, what their likes/dislikes are, what they order online (what kind of ads are targeted), etc.

It's also sad that most young activists these days are all over Facebook and have been giving it all their information since they turned 13 (or earlier if they just ignored that 13+ stuff), so by the time they become involved, the government has an easy way to find out literally everything about their personal lives. Just upload a picture of them snapped at some political rally, and voila!

The problem is Facebook is so addictive, I see such compulsive behavior clicking photos, and when you block facebook on networks, users downright have panic attacks.

Sounds like George Orwell may have been right: We love big brother.

Re:Activists should be most concerned (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42766315)

Lets ban everything that's useful to the FBI! Like cars, guns, and cell phones.

Re:Activists should be most concerned (1)

Midnight_Falcon (2432802) | about a year and a half ago | (#42766403)

Straw man. No further response necessary.

Re:Activists should be most concerned (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42767667)

Yet you felt it necessary to respond anyway, dumbass. Also, you should look up "straw man" before using it again.

Re:Activists should be most concerned (1)

swillden (191260) | about a year and a half ago | (#42766327)

While I don't want to dismiss all privacy concerns here, you're vastly overrating the effectiveness of current face recognition technology. If you compare a given face to a database of millions, much less hundreds of millions, you're not going to get a single match, you're going to get thousands of matches. And, frankly, this isn't just a technology problem. If you then go on to apply the very best (if not most efficient) face-matching technology we have -- people -- you'll find that you still have tens, if not hundreds of matches. Faces just aren't that unique, not on a global scale.

And all of the above assumes that all of the photos being matched are well-lit, full-face views with nothing to obscure them.

The reason it works on social services is that the face matching algorithm has an additional signal: it knows who your friends are. That means it's searching a much smaller database. Your theorized FBI matching system would not have that advantage.

Re:Activists should be most concerned (1)

Midnight_Falcon (2432802) | about a year and a half ago | (#42766435)

When technology catches up so that you can reduce the set to let's say, 10 possible matches, and then have an analyst coordinate it, will it be too late to go back? What happens if Facebook goes bankrupt, and someone purchases this data?

It appears the road forward is a minefield of caveats.

Re:Activists should be most concerned (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42766775)

"Your theorized FBI matching system would not have that advantage"

his theorized fbi matching system was stated as a facebook law enforcement console. so yes it does have that capability. the social network also gives you an insane amount of search filtering if implemented properly. now there's zombies confirming facial photo's increasing the accuracy of the match every time somebody tags you. once you have a few different angles of the face "confirmed" by facebook zombies you have a much higher probability of accurately producing the person of interest. instead of one reference photo to put into your search you now potentially have tens to hundreds to refine the end result.... does it click yet? instead of trying to disprove our paranoid fears think like us for a second. is this technology REALLLY worth the extra hardware and maintenance??? any idiot can look at a photo of their friend and say ohhh theres johnny let me tag him. how the ____ does facebook make enough money to stay afloat anyway. facebook is just one cog in the machine peoples.

i will end this rant on this final note. look at the current state of the internet. if you ever used it before the spying machines went into full swing, start running a personal firewall and look at all the servers you connect to on a daily basis, REGARDLESS of what site you use. you are connecting to and transfering data between a not so large number of advertising companies. A SHITLOAD of connections i might ad. we are all being spied on, under the guise of targetted advertising. this shit needs to stop. i dont need to connect to 20 servers just to check my FUCKING EMAIL!!

Re:Activists should be most concerned (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42767179)

You're forgetting that many of us are aspies... more than a few of whom have learned the hard way since childhood that the fact that WE don't recognize somebody's face doesn't mean that they won't recognize ours. As a practical matter, modern face recognition algorithms are probably BETTER than our own face-recognition skills. The realization that we can barely recognize people we hang out with every day if they change their haircut or buy a new shirt, and there's software out there that can recognize us everywhere we go is completely terrifying.

Re:Activists should be most concerned (1)

swillden (191260) | about a year and a half ago | (#42775121)

I'm not forgetting that at all... I am one of the people who have a hard time recognizing faces. I'm not face blind, but I have to be around someone quite a bit before I can reliably recognize them.

The realization that we can barely recognize people we hang out with every day if they change their haircut or buy a new shirt, and there's software out there that can recognize us everywhere we go is completely terrifying.

The whole point of my post that the existence of software that can recognize you everywhere you go is fiction. Assuming you believed me, you should have found my comments comforting.

Re:Activists should be most concerned (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42766363)

very concerned, why do i need a computer to recognize faces, something my brain from what i read on the interwebs is 'hardwired' to do. sounds like a utensil to help link any faces submitted in a search query to accounts, ideas, thought processes, friends, family. ETC. and guess what, even if you don't have a facebook account, unless you have no friends the odds are against your biometric data from ending up on facebook. so just sit there and pretend this shit isn't happening why don't you.

Re:Activists should be most concerned (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42766397)

sorry, the odds are highly in favor of your biometric data ending up on facebook, not against. my logic got all screwey.

Re:Activists should be most concerned (1)

Midnight_Falcon (2432802) | about a year and a half ago | (#42766489)

I had one of the first Facebook accounts, opened in 2003, as a college student at one of the first ten universities Facebook opened up to.

I never used the account, added a single friend, but it is still active an undeletable.

I can also guarantee that not a single photo exists of me tagged with the correct name. This is a benefit towards using a middle name or made up name as an alias amongst friends.

I knew to do this because as a teenager, I had a hacking background. But those who did not, have now willingly given facebook all their data. I'm not one of them.

Thank you Facebook but (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42766215)

I don't need a website to help me recognize friends in a picture. If I can't recognize someone in a photograph they're not my friend.

What a lame excuse to implement a system which allows tracking and collecting information on people who don't want to volunteer their information to facebook.

Time to delete facebook.

FB on /. (1)

tqk (413719) | about a year and a half ago | (#42766469)

FB doesn't matter ("stuff that matters", and all that, ya know). Just sayin'. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!!!!111

How to Fight This (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year and a half ago | (#42767189)

We've got about zero chance of changing facebook policies. Nearly zero chance of legislatively stopping it either (and then there will be plenty of exceptions for "law enforcement" that will just make it so that only the very powerful can abuse these tools).

But what you can do is to pollute their database. Garbage In, Garbage Out.
Tag people with the wrong names. Each photo of the same person, tag it with a different name. Or, if you have a lot of photos, use the same (wrong) name a couple of times, before switching it up. That makes it so they can't just throw out all the one-offs. You can also go the other way - upload photos of strangers and tag them with the names of your friends (and yourself).

It ain't perfect, nothing ever is. But facial recognition ain't perfect either, if we can put enough noise into their database, it will make it impractical. At least impractical to be used against you and your friends. Unfortunately, those who blithely use it without concern are just going to have to live with the consequences. For those people, its the online equivalent of giving a gun to a toddler. But until some people actually die as a result, no way facebook will ever be held accountable for such reckless disregard for the welfare of their users.

PS - I am NOT looking forward to "google glasses" becoming ubiquitous and building facial recog databases of everybody in view of the wearers. Even if google doesn't know your name, they do know location, time and the faces of everybody near you. Enough of that sort of data and they can narrow down your identify pretty well.

Facebook has only one concern. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42769591)

Money.

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