Facial Recognition Technology
The second case of sharing of the users’ private data hosted on Facebook servers involves the request from juridical and financial organizations. As a rule, such organizations aim at investigating or restricting the attempts of a fraud or other cases involving a breaking of the law. Practically, such rule means that in case the Company receives a request from regional bank claiming that I may be involved in a fraud case, it would send the necessary information. The only limitation of this rule refers to the legitimacy of the request. For instance, in case the bank has documented details involving my official conviction in fraud or other law disobedience, Facebook would share my data, which is on their servers. Likewise, in case the bank has no legal permission or basis for claiming my individual data, Facebook would not expose my data to it.
The information enlisted above means that Facebook leaves the right to share the photos uploaded into my profile in the social network. Despite there are certain limitations and any user has rights for the stored content, the private information can be compromised to a third party on a legal basis. Additionally, the user may enclose one’s profile in order to restrict its visibility for search engines. However, certain interior policies of the Company mean that they have already shared the photos of the users with Facebook.com by means of acquiring it (Acquisti). Thus, there is a possibility that some percentage of the stored photos may leak to other companies even without permission. Additionally, Facebook’s policy of original name and photo usage by the registered users makes it easier to identify and track individuals. Consequently, automatic face processing software may use such information for data collection, sorting and identification of an individual’s identity.
Discussing the issues of face recognition technology, Professor Acquisti defines its implications in the future. One of them is the ability for indentifying sensitive and secured information about people online by means of recognition of anonymous face pictures. Such information may include a broad range of categories starting from hobbies and favored things to bank account numbers. Regarding the fact that such information should be secured by means preserving anonymity, companies store it presuming that hiding a name would grant the anonymity of the account. However, face recognition technology is capable of finding a broad range of anonymous photos, comparing them and bringing private data, which is linked to the real name of a person. Unfortunately, the negative side of the services and social networks similar to Facebook is that despite they require registration for granting access to pictures, they expose the avatar of a person. Moreover, Facebook’s policy assures that a person should use real name and photo. As a consequence, such sites are the largest facial databases, where faces are linked to real names of people. As a result, special software can align and compare any kind of anonymous photo with the one stored in the social network in order to find the name of a person. Likewise, it would search other private information on thousands of websites, which may involve the usage of pictures associated with the defined person. Thus, in case a person has an Amazon account with the list of buys, the information would be exposed alongside with the person’s address. The same principle would be applied to other sites, which include hobby discussions, bank account information, and other. A personal concern regarding such feature is that it would be impossible for a person to hide any kind of data in the future on the basis of a hidden real name data. Thus, in case any of my new friends sees a picture of my face, they would have a possibility to receive any kind of my sensible information. It means that I cannot be anonymous anymore. Moreover, any person would be able to know the details of my bank account. Such actions are the abuse of a face recognition technology undermining the principles of anonymity of the Internet and its users.
Moreover, face recognition software of the future would be capable of analyzing the obtained private data and creating special patterns of organized clusters of such information. For instance, it means that the software may expose a group of a person’s friends and their activities, the amount of money stored in banks, etc. Likewise, it may predict certain habits and hobbies on the basis of advanced facial analysis. Practically, it would undermine the basic principle of anonymity in both the Internet and the real world. For instance, seeing a person for the first time in my life but having his or her picture would grant serious power in case of applying face recognition technology. Thus, the observer may know the weak points of a person, which may be used for stalking or any other kind of abuse. Therefore, an uncontrolled practice of the technology usage might lead to serious implications endangering people. The danger may come both in the form of Internet attacks or real physical assault with the aim of a robbery or other criminal actions. Knowing the sum of the money stored on one’s bank account would make a person invasive due to broken anonymity caused by face recognition technology.
Furthermore, the application of the discussed technology in the future would make it possible to perform real-time operations involving the analysis of enormous data bases. Thus, one of the most common current limitations of the technology is the limit and the cost of calculating resources and comparatively small size of image databases for analysis. It means that contemporary facial recognition applications are either expensive or ineffective when expecting positive real-tire results. However, as the usage of cloud-computing services and the increase of calculating resources become cheaper, the period of danger to facial anonymity is approaching. For example, a typical situation in the future would be that anonymous people take a group photo and gain an access to a complete biography of all presented individuals alongside with other information. After that, people may start a discussions based on their newly automatically exposed similar interests. In addition to that, some individuals might be rejected from the discussion on the basis that their identified profiles did not demonstrate certain data, which is required in this group. Thus, individuals with financial or legal problems would have no possibility for concealing their identity. From the one hand, it may have a positive result as the society would become safer when people will be able to receive more information about each other. However, the negative side of such aspect is that it would be impossible to hide any kind of information, which a person wants to hide from the public. As a result, specialists pay special attention towards the facial recognition technology opposed to others. The major justification of this fact is that it is difficult and expensive to change a facial identity of a person. Moreover, compared to fingerprints, there is no need for the search of special instruments when a person may have a camera, a picture of a person, and the Internet. It would make the work of police officers easier as they would know a complete biography of a person. Such feature would become possible when analyzing the face of a person alongside with its instant capture on a video recording device. However, it also means that criminals may use facial analysis in order to identify invasive people and those who store big sums of money on their bank accounts. Thus, in case the criminals are aware of the name of a person, they would easily find one’s place of living, which endangers the community.
Additionally, the development of facial recognition technology would make it easier to identify people on photos captured in dark places and those capturing crowds of people. Adequate real-time analysis of such data may result in a rapid identification of individuals responsible for committing public criminal acts when hiding in a crowd. From the one hand, such measure would enhance public security protecting the society from potentially dangerous individuals. However, the abuse of the technology would cause constant tracking of people on public cameras and other live video and photo capturing devices. Aligned with GPS services, such strategy would completely destroy one’s anonymity both over the Internet and in the physical world. Consequently, there is a need for the protection of private data and people’s images stored at websites and social networks. Such protection should mean a broad range of legal restrictions preventing data and image sharing with the third parties. Therefore, in case Facebook adequately protects my images, they would not be placed into the image databases. Additionally, the avatar images of the users should be protected with additional measures making their scanning and upload unavailable for any kind of software. Likewise, the real name of the users should also be encrypted in order to resist the attempts of identification software for finding it out. As a result, enhanced security of publically available images and data would grant the users’ anonymity and protect them from illegal attempts of facial recognition technology application.