I learned today that unknown to most Facebook users is a facial recognition application used by Facebook that is sending information for criminal investigation use by governments. In the USA, the information is available for use at the state police level.
The warning I got from my source was to get off Facebook. Knowing what he knows about how the software application is being used without public knowledge, is the reason his family will not use Facebook. I’ve been informed by other sources that ALL data from search engines and social sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Linkedin and anywhere where profiles are set up is sent to giant government databases.
Ever wonder how Abbey from NCIS so easily pops up possible criminals with nothing more than a nose hair? Any Internet application, including Whois, that contains your address and personal information, is gobbled up in ways none of us are aware of.
I went in search of something to back up this claim and found there is a company called Face.com that supplies the facial recognition application to Facebook under the innocent guise of being used for tagging and identifying pictures of yourself. For over a year the application has been out. You may know it as Photo Finder. From a recent press release, Face.com takes its face-recognition technology beyond Facebook:
Face.com has scanned more than 7 billion photos in the past year, indexing more than 52 million faces with its Photo Finder and Photo tagger apps on Facebook. Now it is expanding beyond the social network by launching a developer tool that will let you embed the face recognition technology in any site.
It may sound creepy on the privacy front, but Face.com says it uses the same privacy protection rules that Facebook does in its terms of service.
This is not comforting considering Facebook could care less about our privacy.
I have no proof that Face.com is the supplier of facial recognition from Facebook to government agencies. They just happened to come up first on my searches. This note from Face.com seems to indicate they are the vendor.
We at face.com are working hard to develop the fastest, most powerful, and most accurate facial recognition app outside of TV crime dramas. We have built the best tool possible to find pictures of you and your friends on facebook – the largest photo-sharing site in the world. Photo Finder is still in alpha, and we would love to hear your feedback, suggestions, bug reports, rants, and raves.
Out in the “real world” I’ve been asking questions and discovering that Facebook is no longer trusted. Many folks dropped it entirely, including some young people I spoke with. The common feedback is that social sites like it are a “waste of my time”. It’s a real shame that something that has reunited classmates and friends and provided entertainment is also a wide open covert gateway to Uncle Sam and god knows who else.
If anyone has more information on this, please leave a comment. I’m not into conspiracy theories. I’m looking for solid information on how our profiles and private information are being fed to government owned databases so that people can make educated choices for themselves.