FOR THE WEEK OF SEP. 09, 2019
Amid privacy unease and a federal fine, Facebook changes how face recognition works
Look for different news about a privacy issue and give your viewpoint.
Read other technology or social media coverage and list two things you learn.
If you find an article about face recognition in the context of security cameras and law enforcement, summarize what's new.
Facebook no longer uses facial recognition ability to identify people automatically in your posted photos or to suggest that friends and relatives tag you in their snapshots. Users now have to opt in if they want that type of thing, as well as alerts if they're in photos on someone else's page -- even if not tagged. "We've made the steps to update your settings clearer," the platform says in a blog post announcing the changes.This comes less than two months after a $5-billion penalty as part of a Facebook settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, partially over the facial recognition feature. The company misrepresented users' ability to control how their photos were used for facial recognition, the government said. Aside from the big fine, the commission ordered Facebook to "provide clear and conspicuous notice of its use of facial recognition technology, and obtain affirmative express user consent prior to any use." A Facebook representative now tells Gizmodo, a tech news site: "We've agreed to a more comprehensive privacy framework that governs how we build our products. Face recognition is part of that conversation" with federal regulators.
The decision to change its settings comes amid increasing unease about facial recognition technology, which other companies and law enforcers also use. "Opt-in only should already be the default for anything that collects your data," cybersecurity reporter Kate O'Flaherty writes at Forbes, a business magazine, in coverage of Facebook's move. In a separate response to privacy concerns, Apple is introducing a feature that limits Facebook data collection. The upcoming iOS 13 operating system won't let social media apps collect data in the background when not in use.
Facebook says: "We've continued to engage with privacy experts, academics, regulators and people on Facebook about how we use face recognition and the options you have to control it." -- Srinivas Narayanan, lead engineer for artificial intelligence applied research, in Sept. 3 post
U.S. regulator says: "Despite repeated promises to its billions of users worldwide that they could control how their personal information is shared, Facebook undermined consumers' choices." -- Joe Simons, Federal Trade Commission chair, July 2019 statement
Tech insider says: "The more ubiquitous facial recognition becomes, the more exposed we all are to being part of the process." -- Liz O'Sullivan, who quit a New York artificial intelligence firm this year because of its data use practices
Front Page Talking Points Archive
Lessons & Classroom Activities
Resources by grade level