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Facebook to add profile photos in facial recognition database

August 31, 2013 at 1:09 am | News Desk


LONDON: The largest social media website Facebook likely to add profile pictures into database soon in order to facilitate its users for improved control on personal information.

Experiencing best results with Facebook’s ‘Tag Suggest’ feature for identification of faces in latest uploaded photos after comparing with previous pictures, the company likely to take decision for upgradation of the feature for facial recognition technology which will speed up the process of labelling or “tagging” friends and acquaintances who appear in photos posted on the network.

Previous technology just identifies faces newly uploaded photos by comparing them only to previous snapshots in which users were tagged but in upcoming move Facebook users could choose to remove tags identifying them in photos posted by others on the site.

The changes would be implemented at the time when Facebook and other internet companies’ privacy practices are under examination following the revelations of a US government electronic surveillance program.

Earlier, Facebook, Google and other companies had insisted that they have never gave the government direct access to their computer servers but the provision of information on specific requests with measured review and as required by law.

Facebook chief privacy officer Erin Egan.

Facebook chief privacy officer Erin Egan.

Facebook chief privacy officer Erin Egan said that adding members’ public profile photos would give users better control over their personal information, by making it easier to identify posted photos in which they appear.

“Our goal is to facilitate tagging so that people know when there are photos of them on our service,” Egan said.

She stressed that Facebook users uncomfortable with facial recognition technology will still be able to opt out of the tag suggest feature altogether, in which case the person’s public profile photo would not be included in the facial recognition database.


Facial recognition technology

Facial recognition technology has been a sensitive issue for technology companies, raising concerns among some privacy advocates and government officials. Tag suggest, which the company introduced in 2011, is not available in Europe due to concerns raised by regulators.

Google’s social network, Google+, also employs similar technology, but requires user consent. And it has banned third-party software makers from using facial recognition technology in apps designed for its Glass wearable computer.

Egan said Facebook was not currently using facial recognition technology for any other features, but that could change.

Egan claimed that facial recognition technology will not be used for any other purposes, however, if they decided to use it in different ways people will be provided transparency about it and they will continue to provide control.

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