Facebook just announced it has purchased facial recognition software makers, Face.com. The two companies have already been in cahoots – it’s Face.com’s software that lets you tag your Facebook friends, and it’s likely that Facebook will try to build something using the clever engineers acquired with the deal.
Tagging pictures has become almost second nature; however, privacy advocates are still concerned about software that “learns” from our tagged pictures and recognizes us in new settings. Right now all the pictures are contained on Facebook, kind of like sifting through pictures in a shoebox. Concerns rise considerably when you start to think about who owns those pictures (Facebook) and how it might turn a profit off your face (giving advertisers access to your face, comes to mind).
Responding to inquiries from U.S. and European privacy advocates, Facebook last year made it easier for users to opt out of its controversial facial-recognition technology for photographs posted on the website, an effort to address concerns that it had violated consumers’ privacy.
A post on the Naked Security blog gives you a detailed breakdown of how facial recognition software works and how to disable it on Facebook, if you want.