Since Facebook’s facial recognition technology was turned off in Europe and Canada over privacy concerns, more and more questions are being raised about its use here in the United States.
Facebook says that the technology serves to better connect users with tag suggestions, an undeniably useful application. However, critics of facial recognition don’t have a problem with how it works. They have a problem with how Facebook presents it—or doesn’t present it—to users. [Click Here to opt out of tag suggestions]
“Face recognition data can be collected without a person’s knowledge,” said Jennifer Lynch, a lawyer for the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “It’s very rare for a fingerprint to be collected without your knowledge.”
Indeed, Facebook does not present users with the option of opting in to facial recognition tech. Several other leading tech companies, including Google and Microsoft, are utilizing similar features, but both give users the choice of consent.
“Facebook isn’t getting permission,” said Alvaro Bedoya, executive director of Georgetown University’s Center on Privacy & Technology. “Facial recognition is one of those categories of data where a very prominent and a very clear consent is necessary.”
It took a massive public uproar to get Facebook to reverse its stance on the technology overseas. It will likely take something similar to get the site to do the same here, and aside from a few experts, that doesn’t seem likely to happen.