Facebook Facial Recognition Is About To Get A Lot More Orwellian

Facebook’s facial recognition capabilities are about to get a heck of a lot creepier.

Facebook has always been pretty “handsy” with your personal data, and transparency-themed blog posts that usually boil down to “here’s how we’re testing the limits of your patience today, but at least we’re being honest about it” usually fail to ameliorate concern.

But a few things about Facebook’s new proposed anti privacy policy should probably freak you out, especially in light of the social network’s recent transformation into a convenient governmental data gathering hub.

The biggest, as pointed out by AllThingsD, is a dramatic expansion of Facebook’s facial recognition database, which would add most of its users’ profile pictures.

This will permanently add more than a billion new faces to Facebook’s date store, which will actually improve the “Tag Suggest” feature, they say. It will also help you be more aware of untagged photos with you in them (posted by others who may or may not be your friends).

To be fair, those are pretty nice perks, especially with regard to issues of cyber-bullying. For instance, when I was in college in 2007, two roommates I knew had a falling out which resulted in Facebook un-friending, blockage, and pictures of the other in her underwear plastered all over her page. Back then, there was nothing she could do about it. Now, she’d likely have the option to at least report the images immediately, and before hearing about them from everyone else on campus.

But several tech heads are kind of concerned about Facebook’s steady expansion of how they collect your data and what they are able to do with it. Not unlike the proverbial frog in boiling water, we slowly get used to it and really just don’t realize how much personal data we’re turning over, and we don’t know (or don’t care) how that could be potentially abused down the line.

These new proposed changes to the social networking giant could “trace your interactions across your network of friends: Who you’re spending time with, who you have the most in common with, who are your actual, real-world friends and not just Facebook friends.”

Kind of creepy, right?

In any case, you can opt out of Facebook’s facial recognition, but it will be set to “on” automatically when it launches, so maybe changing it is kind of moot.

[Image: Shutterstock]