Facebook questioned over facial recognition

Facebook might be hoping to bolster its facial recognition features thanks to its purchase of Face.com, but US senators are drilling the company about the specifics. Senator Al Franken questioned Facebook about how the company is telling users about the face scanning feature, saying that it was far too difficult to find a notice on the social networking website that explicitly says facial recognition technology is being used.

Specifically, Senator Franken is concerned about how the feature is opt-out rather than opt-in. When a user uploads a photo to Facebook, the site automatically scans the faces in the picture and tries to find a match against registered users on the website. Right now the feature is disabled, but it will soon be re enabled following integration with Face.com's tech that Facebook acquired not too long ago.

Franken highlighted security concerns regarding tools that pull down public information from Facebook which could include the scanned faces. That would make it harder to stay anonymous, with faces being matched up to other sensitive information freely available on the internet. Facebook, however, believes an automatic opt-in is the right fit for the feature: "We think that's the appropriate choice because Facebook itself is an opt-in experience. People choose to be on Facebook because they want to share with one another."

[via The Sacramento Bee]