Facebook’s facial recognition technology has been touted as a tool to make our lives easier. No longer will we have to take the time to tag our friends in all of our photos. But while this nifty little convenience will save us a few precious minutes, does it also have a more sinister use.
The technology works best when your picture is one of your face looking right into the camera. Angled shots and profile shots don’t really work to well with the system, but the database is growing and continually gathering information from your photos to draw correlations from your facial features.
Privacy rights activists have been up in arms about privacy issued with Facebook, and the auto-tagging features have only stoked the fire. After all, with this new software you can take anyone’s photo from online and find out exactly who they are in a matter of moments. What was once a tool used by law enforcement to figure out who the bad guys are, now can be used by ordinary citizens trying to decipher the identity of anyone they run into, whether it’s online or on the street.
There are many people who use pseudonyms on their online profiles. Dating sites especially are filled with people who are just wanting to look around and don’t really want their true identities revealed just yet. But if they have a picture posted in their profile, anyone with this facial recognition technology can find out exactly who they are and find out what their real name is. After all, Facebook’s new facial recognition tool will not just be contained to Facebook. And with Google getting in on the biometric game, it will be all but impossible to keep your secret identity secret.
There is no more hiding on the internet. Some of us have been blinded by a sense of false security when it comes to anonymity online. And whether we knew it or not, every move we ever made online is traceable. But Facebook’s auto-tagging tool makes it even clearer that we can no longer hide who we really are. And depending on your perspective this can be a good or bad thing. Unfortunately, if you are a crook who wants to steal someone’s identity this makes life even easier for you, and it makes life a little harder for those trying to protect their identities from these kinds of nefarious people.
Do you want complete strangers having the ability to know your name, interests, and home town just by looking at you? Well this is pretty much what this new facial recognition feature brings to our world. And while it does take away our ability to use fake names and trick people into thinking we are someone else, it also allows people we have never met to find out more about us than we may like.
Many people will not give their entire names on the cell phone’s voicemail greeting to try to stay anonymous. But with more than 750 million users on Facebook, it only takes a single picture to find out who you are.
We all love what technology can do for us. We love how it makes our lives easier. We love how it enables us to cross into realms we only dreamed were possible. But when technology begins to invade into our personal lives, the fact becomes clear that there is always a cost for moving forward. And if a picture was worth a thousand words before, it might be worth a lot more than that when your identity is at stake.
Jon is a guest writer with www.Safeidentityprotection.com which is an identity theft blog that helps consumers find the best identity theft protection service and compare companies like Lifelock reviews to show the pros and cons of these services.