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Facebook 'experimenting' with users - Commissioner

Published: 6:34PM Friday June 10, 2011 Source: ONE News

According to the Privacy Commission, Facebook could be breaching the privacy of users with its newly implemented facial recognition software.

The software automatically scans uploaded photos and identifies people by their facial features.

Privacy commissioner Marie Shroff said it "seems like Facebook is experimenting with its users".

The software was introduced without any warning and instead of opting in, users have to change their privacy settings to opt out.

Technology commentator Colin Jackson told ONE News people should be concerned about the change.

"It really means that stuff that they might not appreciate& pictures they might not even know have been taken, are suddenly almost public property," said Jackson.

A hundred million photos are loaded into Facebook each day. The facial recognition software takes these newly loaded photos and scans the faces, it then compares the image to people you have already identified in previous photos.

If you lots of photos are loaded it groups them all at once, so each individual picture doesn't need to be tagged.

The company's official blog says its facial recognition is now available in "most countries".

European and American regulators are already in discussions with the web giant to see if users' privacy has been breached by the use of the software.

The company has apologised - sending a statement to international media admitting they "should have been more clear with people during the roll out process".

"They're always changing the privacy settings on their site. They rather see themselves as leading the way on this point. And honestly, many people don't seem to care," said Jackson.