Facebook’s facial recognition technology, dubbed DeepFace, is now so advanced it can identify you in photos uploaded to the site without being told it’s you.
Facial recognition technology has been implemented on Facebook to some extent for some time now. For example when you upload new photos onto the site, Facebook can identify where people’s faces are and suggest you use the tag feature to identify the face’s owner.
But now this technology is becoming much more advanced, and the ability to identify where a face appears in a particular photo is now old news. Now technology is learning to identify who the face belongs to, automatically.
This means that Facebook could potentially have the ability to automatically tag you in photos that are uploaded onto the site, without the need for either the person uploading the photo, or you, to tell Facebook who it is.
The prospect of a computer being able to identify a particular person is an incredibly impressive feat. The ability to effortlessly identify so many people with just a single glance has long been considered one of our brains most fascinating abilities, but now artificial intelligence is catching up in this regard. DeepFace can correctly identify if the same person appears in two different photos 97.25% of the time, regardless of the angle or lighting.
Impressive engineering aside, this does of course raise many privacy concerns. Facebook, being no stranger themselves to many a privacy debate, has been quick to address concerns from its users by claiming that the technology will NOT automatically tag you in photos, but it will alert you if it detects your face in a photo uploaded by a friend. From there you can choose not to be tagged, and also have the option to blur your face in order to protect your privacy in a way not previously provided by Facebook.
But the mere prospect of Facebook automatically knowing when you appear in a photo without being told is perhaps still one of the most worrying things yet for anyone concerned with online privacy.
Even if you’re not tagged in a photo on the Facebook front end, the hidden Facebook backend may still know it’s you, and may still use this data to collect even more personal information about you, including where you are and who you appear in photos with. It’s just more information about you that Facebook will want to know, and be able to collect.
Facebook are not the only company making advances in facial recognition technologies. Whilst many of these technologies may not be as advanced as your average Hollywood thriller may suggest, they may soon be. The privacy implications are huge, and Facebook have a habit of turning every bit of information they have about us into potential profit, even if they initially claim that they won’t.
And it’s Facebook that millions of users turn to to upload their latest photos. The more photos of you uploaded to the site, the easier it will be for Facebook to automatically identify you.
How do you feel about facial recognition? Useful or too intrusive? Let us know below.