Mike the Psych's Blog

What if psychologists ruled the world? In real life?

Electronic tagging – the Facebook way

Facebook has done it again. Imposed new technology without asking you. This time it’s software which automatically identifies faces in your photographs starting with all your “friends”.

And you can only untag them after they have been published online. Another example of reducing your privacy by default but that’s par for the course for Zuckerberg.

He believes everything should be out in the open except his own info – you can’t “friend” him. And he clearly believes it’s easier to seek forgiveness than seek permission.

Zuckerberg relies on consumer inertia ie people can’t be bothered to change or cancel things, and using “opt out” processes rather than an “opt in” one that privacy campaigners say Facebook should offer.

I never though I would find anything good to say about the EU bureaucrats but their regulators on the Article 29 Data Protection Working Party are apparently going to investigate.

There are other pieces of software that do the same thing. Apple offers a similar service in iPhoto but there you have to choose the faces you want recognising and then confirm each name tag and it’s not an on-line service.

This is the reason I don’t like Facebook. They ask you for your data and then they own you. I have a choice on Linkedin and Twitter doesn’t ask for any personal details but Zuckerberg wants everything about you put online.

Some might say more fool you for having an account in the first place.

The Sunday Times did a big piece on this yesterday (12/6/11) and revealed that Google has filed a patent application for face recognition software to help identify celebrities. It could theoretically be used to identify anyone by scanning social networking sites for matches.

Before you know it those strangers with the camera phones have your identification and whatever you have chosen to put in the public domain in their possession.

Marketers, advertisers, sales people, and criminals would all have the information they need to target you.

And there is also a system of mass observation which uses video cameras to monitor people in public areas. At present it is not used for identifying individuals but the company plans to install face recognition software as the next step.

The UK is apparently the countries with the most CCTV cameras per head of population and we have car numberplate recognition software already on major motorways and roads. How much more Orwellian can we get?

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Author: mikethepsych

He says he's a psychologist but aren't we all?

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