"Weinergate" reminds us yet again that photos can quickly become embarrassing, and even scandalous.
For this and other reasons, many consider it important to have control over who sees their photos. Facebook may be further pushing users' sense of privacy limits with its latest privacy setting change: it has quietly rolled out a facial-recognition tool that will automate photo tagging and suggest friends to tag in your photos based on what they look like.
According to a report from IT security firm Sophos, the facial-recognition tool previously launched in the United States but is now available in most countries.
According to Facebook, people are adding 100 million photos to Facebook each day. In a blog post, the company said users have called tagging a chore. True, it can certainly feel like it when you have to manually type in who your friend is and tag every picture in the album. Tag suggestions are made when people add new photos to the site, and only friends are suggested.
"When we announced this feature last December, we explained that we would test it, listen to feedback, and iterate before rolling it out more broadly," a Facebook spokesperson told CNET in an e-mail today. "We should have been more clear with people during the rollout process when this became available to them. Tag suggestions are now available in most countries and we'll post further updates to our blog over time."
Chester Wisniewski, a senior security adviser at Sophos, isn't surprised by the way Facebook introduced the technology. "This is their standard method. They do it secretly and see if the uproar is loud enough. Previously, they've made addresses and phone numbers available to developers but backed out once people made a ruckus about it. This time, they tested [the facial-recognition feature] out on Americans, who are the least privacy-aware." … Read more