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Is facial recognition a threat on Facebook and Google?

Mike Elgan | June 30, 2015
Photo recognition is so good on Facebook and Google that they don't even need to see your face to ID you. Now what?

The third fact worth noting about the ability of companies to recognize you in pictures is that it can be beneficial for your own privacy. For example, it's possible that the search engines of the future could alert you anytime anyone anywhere uses or posts a picture with you in it, even if you're in the background. And you could have the ability to take action when some type of abuse or misuse of such a photo occurs. It's also possible that that type of facial-recognition technology could prevent identity theft, which is becoming increasingly problematic as companies and agencies with our data get hacked.

The day when companies like Facebook and Google will be able to recognize you in pictures with 99 percent accuracy, even when your face doesn't show, is fast approaching. That capability could lead to a world in which privacy is impossible. But it doesn't have to.

The first step is to understand what's possible and grasp the realm of the technology's implications. The second is for us to ask questions, demand answers and speak up in defense of our privacy.

It's easy for us to throw up our hands in despair and proclaim that our privacy is already dead and gone. But it's not. We can still enjoy the benefits of advanced technology without giving up all our privacy.


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