Facebook has introduced new protocols to decrease incidents of fraud and reduce security breaches. Right now, Facebook’s new facial scanning technology is making its way through your photo album, offering you new opportunities for tagging and also preparing to warn you if your face is being used anywhere it shouldn’t be.
The advantages are clear – Facebook wants to put the power firmly in the hand of the owner of the face, rather than the holder of the picture. It wants individual users to be able to police any malicious attempts to create profiles using their images, and as a result, make the platform more valuable.
But what about security concerns?
Through this extraordinary technology, Facebook will now not only have your personal information, but also a significant amount of data with regards to your behaviours and habits. For example, an image appears of you on the beach with several people. You and those people are identified using Facebook’s system, along with the location you were kind enough to tag everyone into, the date, time and associated comments. As a result, Facebook knows where you are, who you were with and probably even why you were there – extrapolated over the course of a year, the social network has a detailed breakdown of your habitual movements, relationships and could even potentially estimate such things as your political leanings and buying habits based on statistical analysis.
But Facebook promises this is not the plan.
Having been plagued for years by security breaches and claims (many proven) that they had used uses information to gain a more detailed understanding of their online habits for commercial reasons, Facebook has been quick to make it clear that this upgrade is for security and user experience purposes only – there will be no commercial implications.
At the moment.
Of course, in the future, this type of technology could easily be used not only on Facebook but also the wider online environment to track and monitor individuals or specific demographics within a defined population.
Conspiracy theorists are likely to have a field day, but in the meantime enjoy the opportunity to tag yourself in more photos.