The American Dream 
June 10, 2011
The days when you could be “anonymous” on the Internet are long gone. Social media networks like Facebook are a lot of fun, but you should expect to have absolutely zero privacy while using them. If you still believe that anything you say or do on Facebook is private than you are being delusional. Now, Facebook has even enabled facial recognition technology across its entire site. Facebook can now instantly identify your face out of its half a billion users worldwide. Facebook is using this technology for its new “Tag Suggestions” feature. The idea is that facial recognition technology will speed up the process of tagging friends and family in photos that have been posted on Facebook.
That sounds harmless enough, but the problem is that facial recognition technology has been automatically enabled for millions upon millions of Facebook users but they were never even told that the new technology would be automatically enabled on their accounts.
The following excerpt is from the blog post  where Facebook officially announced this change…..
Because photos are such an important part of Facebook, we want to be sure you know exactly how tag suggestions work: When you or a friend upload new photos, we use face recognition software—similar to that found in many photo editing tools—to match your new photos to other photos you’re tagged in. We group similar photos together and, whenever possible, suggest the name of the friend in the photos.
So exactly how does this new technology function?
A recent Computerworld article explained exactly how this is going to work….
Facebook noted that starting in just a few weeks, its system will scan all photos posted to Facebook and will offer up the names of the people who appear in the frame. All of Facebook’s users are automatically being added to the database.
The facial recognition feature is automatically turned on. Users who don’t want the service must go in and manually opt out of it
So if anyone has ever posted a picture of you to Facebook, the company can now instantly identify you through the use of facial recognition technology.
That sounds a little creepy, doesn’t it?
Sadly, Facebook doesn’t seem to have much regard for our privacy these days. Senior technology consultant Graham Cluley had the following to say about this recent change ….
“Yet again, it feels like Facebook is eroding the online privacy of its users by stealth”
So what if you don’t want facial recognition technology enabled for your Facebook account?
Well, you have to manually go in and disable it.
The following video explains exactly how to opt out of the new “facial recognition” technology on Facebook….
But let’s not dump all of the blame on Facebook here. The truth is that Google’s Picasa and Apple’s iPhoto also use facial recognition technology.
These kinds of “Big Brother” technologies are spreading and are becoming a part of the very fabric of the world in which we live.
Every single day a few more shreds of our privacy are stripped away.
Sometimes it is the government that is doing it. Other times it is corporations that are doing it.
Either way, we are becoming more exposed all the time.
Increasingly, nearly everything that we do is being watched, tracked, traced, monitored, surveilled or controlled in some way.
For much more on how our world is slowly but surely being transformed into a “control grid”, I encourage you to check out some of the previous articles I have done on this topic….
If we do not stand up for privacy now, eventually we will have none left.
If we continue on the road that we are currently on, a day will come when everything we buy, everything we sell and everywhere we go will be very tightly tracked and controlled.
At some point we may have very few decisions left that are truly are own.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to end up living in some bizarre, futuristic version of George Orwell’s “1984”.
The facial recognition technology being used by Facebook is not going to change the world, but it is another small step towards a world where none of us have any privacy left.
So what do all of you think about this change by Facebook? Please feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts below….