Facebook stirred new concerns over privacy protection when it rolled out technology that uses facial recognition to identify people in photos on the social networking site.
The technology was designed to help its users easily tag their friends in photos that they upload. Although Facebook only offers “tag suggestions,” it creepily pushes users to tag friends, a feature that privacy advocates say goes over the line.
Facebook does not give users the opportunity to pre-approve tags before they are broadcast over the Web. Instead, it is the user’s responsibility to untag a photo after its been posted.
The largest issue at question is whether Facebook should automatically enable new features to its users’ pages. The development of automatic facial recognition follows several other privacy-bending features that have been added to the default setting.
According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, these privacy protection issues have attracted some attention in Congress. Rep. Edward J. Marley said that Facebook ought to have made the technology “opt-in” for its users.
Instead of having to opt out of these automatic changes, Facebook should provide notice of the new technology and give users the authority to opt in if they’d like, rather than sharing personal information by default. Many people feel uneasy about a site like Facebook learning what they look like and then using that information without permission.
Countless Facebook users do not know how to properly manage their privacy settings. By loosening these settings without user permission, Facebook has worsened this issue even further.
In this age of globalization and technology, online privacy is more important than ever. Ethical questions about the erosion of online privacy continue to arise. And though it may seem like a neat feature that could do some good, facial recognition could just as easily be turned around for the worse.
The power of intrusion would just need to reach the wrong hands.
Ensure that your privacy is protected. Be knowledgeable about how to tighten privacy settings and blocking the face recognition feature on Facebook.