Privacy and civil liberties took another slow goose-step towards tyranny today when Facebook announced it has purchased Face.com in a secretive deal with the Israeli company.
Worse still was the revelation that Face.com’s technology is designed not only to identify individuals but also their gender and age. So in terms of adapting this system over time and deploying it on the streets within normal surveillance cameras, how does one do this without causing too much notice? You slowly and methodically introduce these technologies into social media as “cool apps” or consumer aids and in particular you normalise the use of this technology within the younger generation – who ultimately grow up with this, thinking it’s perfectly reasonable and normal.
Facial recognition software has been around for a while but what makes this more worrying are the huge numbers of individuals this will affect and the obvious plans to incorporate this into mobile devices. Facebook has in excess of 400 million users worldwide, many of whom think nothing of who is looking at their personal information and how that information may be potentially misused by other individuals and agencies.
Bits Blog NY Times
“Facebook has used the Israeli company for two years to identify and “tag” who is who on the social network. Face.com’s last product was an application that allows users to click a picture of their Facebook “friends” and tag it automatically before posting it on Facebook; for now, it works only on the iPhone.”
“That alone is alluring for Facebook: Its users upload 300 million pictures a day at last count, but identifying pictures of Facebook friends on mobile devices, which is the next frontier for Facebook, is not as easy as it is on computers.”