Will the Face.com Acquisition Affect Privacy on Facebook?VW Staff
For some, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) facial-recognition software is invasive enough by sensing who is in your photos and making tagging decisions. But what if Big Brother extended its reach and could see your behaviors and preferences from something as simple as looking at the clothes you wear and the drinks held in your hand?
It could be possible, according to Masahable, thanks to Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s acquisition of Face.com last week. While the effects of the transaction on technology and Face.com are yet to be determined, the social network’s users have expressed concern that the company’s technology could interfere with their privacy rights.
The use of Face.com’s technology isn’t anything new for Facebook; it has been using its software for 18 months, going through pictures to learn your face and your friends. But things could change as Facebook brings technology in-house.
Chester Wisniewski, a senior security adviser for security firm Sophos, said to Mashable of the possibilities,“Whether the acquisition is to increase the use of facial-recognition software on the site or is just a financial move that makes more sense, it’s unclear at this point, but it certainly raises security concerns for many who feel uncomfortable knowing that Facebook is analyzing their images.
He added, “It’s also possible that this could open up doors for advertisers to target users in new ways based on what they are doing in pictures. But this would raise even more security concerns moving forward.”
What can users do while Facebook undergoes changes? Maybe use a little more caution when uploading pictures.
Wisniewski explained, “It’s hard to keep track of all of the privacy settings on Facebook and people want to feel secure when posting personal information, so users may find themselves sharing less on the site. The recent news that LinkedIn passwords were compromised helped people realize that just because it’s a big company doesn’t mean that data is safe.”
For now, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s does not offer a privacy setting that prevents it from assembling facial-recognition data. Mashable noted that users can opt out of the site when the auto-suggests if you are in the pictures or not.
The acquisition–potentially valued at $60 million–isn’t set to close for a few weeks, reported Mashable.