Facial recognition software use increases

By Maureen Aylward

With Facebook and Google increasing their use of facial recognition software, what risks does this pose to users and the social networking sites? What benefits does facial recognition software offer? We asked our Zintro experts to comment.

Mathew Georghiou, an entrepreneur and educational game designer, says that he personally does not like the idea of being able to upload a photo and have everyone in it identified, even if the photo is benign. “I have control over what I post and make public, but I have no control over photos of me and my family that others may post. Celebrities often say that being in the public eye is part of the job and is a small price to pay in return for all the positive perks they receive. The non-celebrity, however, has a loss of privacy without any of the perks,” he says.

Teejayvee, a chief scientist, says that he finds it hard to believe that facial recognition on any social network can be seen as either dangerous or beneficial. “The technology is nascent, to be sure, yielding quite false results if the faces in the photos are not well-lit, facing directly forward, and not moving. All three are unlikely in the typical snapshot I’ve witnessed at several of the leading providers,” he says.

Teejayvee says that that size and previous data-scope of the user of such technology might be a more pressing concern. “Google has been at the forefront of search, online advertising, and applications-in-the-cloud-computing world for over a decade. Facebook is much newer to the game. Thus, it has fewer data-types and observations for any given user than Google; hence, it has fewer opportunities to mix-and-match with other data sources to make cogent content recommendations that can even approach the performance of classic collaborative-filtering, Amazon-like recommendation-engines,” he says. “Plus, the user community will maintain regular updates to fellow users about serial security concerns, so it seems unlikely that any attempt to leverage shared-photographs as marketing springboards to us or our friends is anything more than another stretch of technical reality.”

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