Facebook is facing a pending lawsuit that argues that the social media network did not notify its users upon updating its terms of service stating that it will collect facial data on users that are tagged in photos.
The company is standing behind their claim that the photo tagging service used by many users across its platform, enhances the entire user experience.
Privacy advocates are arguing that Facebook’s facial recognition software which is a form of biometrics, that works by assigning numbers to physical characteristics on a photo, should only be used with explicit permission from its users. Facebook’s photo tagging tool can find the distance between a subjects eyes, nose and ears that will in turn assign a number as a faceprint.
Regulators in Canada and Europe have ordered the software to be shut off.
According to the report from the Financial Post, Jennifer Lynch who is an attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which is a San Francisco-based privacy rights group stated:
Face recognition data can be collected without a person’s knowledge, It’s very rare for a fingerprint to be collected without your knowledge.
The use of facial recognition technology has been on the rise as RT News, reported a group of German Scientists whom alleges that they have developed a new type of face-recognition system that will analyze the thermal signature from a person.
Some smartphone’s over the past few years have already begun using biometric technologies to enhance the user’s experience. For example, with HTC’s One M9 its easy to set up Smart Lock and train it to recognize your face to quickly unlock the device.
Apple’s fingerprint scanner will capture biometric data on the user to unlock the iPhone 6 that will also make purchases through Apple Pay.
Facebook’s facial recognition feature can be disabled by members opting-out at anytime, but will need them to adjust their settings.
Alvaro Bedoya, executive director of Georgetown University’s Center on Privacy & Technology said the following:
Facebook isn’t getting permission, Facial recognition is one of those categories of data where a very prominent and a very clear consent is necessary
Here’s a report from 4 years ago about some of the concerns raised by privacy advocates with Facebook’s powerful facial recognition software that many of us use today without giving a second thought.