Snooping Bastards

Longtime Readers know that I detest the way tech companies strip-mine our personal information so they can sell it off to various other companies.  Here’s one take on it:

Over the weekend, The New York Times ran a frightening story about a small company named Clearview AI that can identify the person in a picture someone uploads to its service. The New York Times said Clearview AI has more than 3 billion images “scraped from Facebook, YouTube, Venmo and millions of other websites” and that more than 600 law enforcement agencies have started using it.
The report raises some really valid concerns about our privacy: If a picture of you exists somewhere online, and you participate in a protest or a rally, then it’s plausible law enforcement could upload a picture of you at the rally, run it through the Clearview system and easily find out who you are.

But fear not:

Facebook has a setting that can recognize your face so that you’re automatically suggested as a tag in pictures and video that your friends upload. (It won’t work if a stranger uploads your picture.) It’s not available for everyone, including people under 18. Facebook has been rolling it out in stages, and says it’s turned off by default, but I’ve had it for a while and have no recollection of how or when I turned it on.

  • Open Facebook.com in your web browser.
  • Tap the down arrow on the top right of the page.
  • Choose Settings.
  • Pick Face Recognition from the left side.  If you don’t see it, your account might not have the feature.
  • Next to “Do you want Facebook to be able to recognize you in photos and videos?” select No.

When you do that, Facebook says it will “delete your face recognition template” so you’re no longer recognized.

And if you honestly believe that your “face recognition template” has now actually been deleted, I have some snake oil to sell you, guaranteed to make you live forever, you witless simpleton.

I don’t trust any of these fucking bastards.

6 comments

  1. I send and receive the occasional email or text message, period. Have not ever and will not do Facebook, twitter, or any other social media. I realize this does not make me invisible, but at least the bastids will have to work to get much more than name, rank, and serial number.

  2. “I don’t trust any of these fucking bastards.”
    ==========
    You got that right. I have been online in form or another since 1988 and to the best of my knowledge no image of my mug has ever existed online. My wife and only son received the law way back when, and detailed explanation of what would occur for infractions. THEIR images? Do what you want. MY image? Trespass at high risk. Unless you count blogs as social media, I don’t have a presence – don’t see the point, but do see the risk. Lo-Pro is my method. (low profile)

  3. FB kicked me off several years ago for an intemperate remark about the Irani regime. They tell me they’ll let me back on if I send them a copy of a government-issued ID with my picture.
    Right!

  4. Here in Georgia I saw in the news that the state government is buying this new cutting edge voice recognition software to help ID people breaking the law and I glanced at my wife and she had a look of concern on her face and I commented”Big Brother is is almost here” and her reply was “Where will they get all those facial recognition images from? ” and I replied “Social Media, people have been putting their face out there for years and now unless you have kept your face out of uploadable digital media, they will have an image of you.”

    1. They don’t need your social media profile, though it sure helps.
      But your photo is on file for your passport, your driver’s license, and many other government issued documents.
      And for those it’s conveniently already linked to your name, address, social security number, tax records, etc. etc. etc. and ready for looking up at the press of a button.

      Feed all those photographs into that AI and it’s got a pretty good starting set of data to work with, and improving over age as the person gets older as the photos now start showing the AI a pattern of how the person’s head changes as he grows older.

      Now they can then feed it some data from a surveillance camera, and the AI can sift through all those records and find out who all was there.

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