Face recognition is great; the greatest thing since sliced bread. Especially when it helps us remember who we met at that rather over-indulged weekend (when we meet them again!). It’s also not too shabby at the Immigration gate at most Australian International airports. However, there are times when our face should (probably) not be recognised.
Recent reports have told us that Facebook has implemented a broadly applicable face recognition system to link tagged people across multiple images. And until recently, tagees have had zero rights (in the past few days, Facebook has announced that tags won’t be published until the tagee has approved).
So, time to drag out our mafia connections; “If you tag me, I’ll have to put you into a deep trench.”
Unfortunately, the modern victims of tagging (already tagged) have no such recourse. Instead, they’re required to “suck it up” and move on.
The weird thing of course is that for our average Gen-Y-er the process of “sucking it up” is of little consequence – the quest for fame stomps all over the quest for privacy.
Or, alternately, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” FAMOUS, is the resounding response. And how can we be ‘famous’ if no-one recognises us?
Of course this issue isn’t limited to Facebook - the application of face recognition to all manner of sources is easily done - YouTube, Google Images etc. are all great sources of people and may easily be ‘improved’ to add recognition.
And here’s the problem: Mick Keelty, recently retired head of the Australian Federal Police speaking at the recent Security 2011 Conference in Sydney noted that just about everyone likely to want to become a police officer already had their face plastered across all forms of social media. Now, that’s not a problem if a new recruit was planning to stay in uniform or to become a detective, but there are big problems if they plan on going undercover.
Our happy criminal group will want to do some research on their “new best friend". This means they would expect to find this person’s ugly mug in a variety of Facebook locations; ALL with the same name as is currently in use. What they’d prefer not to see is the same face happily attending the recent Police Graduation ceremony.
As this writer discovered when working temporarily for a lesser-known but secure policing organisation - before being recruited, my name had to appear in all the ‘right’ places and none of the ‘wrong’ ones. So it is also for the faces of our under-cover wannabes.