Photo Tagging Losing Your Privacy
I have noticed a plethora of activity in respect of people uploading and sharing photos on social networking websites. On Facebook when I login, straight away I see, “so and so” was tagged in “so and so” photo in “so and so” place.
This is good for individuals who are seeking publicity and self-gratification that they are popular. Pop Stars are good examples of this, who want their fans to see where they are all the time and if a fan can capture their picture or see a picture of themselves in their Icons’ site and the site tells them that they were “tagged” in their favourite Star’s social media site – well it has made their day.
This is where the whole matter becomes quite complex. Facial recognition technology is expanding and getting better by the day. It is the result of this that many photos are being accurately tagged. In some areas there are road based cameras that use facial recognition software to identify the driver.
Lately, I have noticed how police have started to capture quite quickly people who were involved in public disorder. It made me wonder how do they manage to capture these people so quickly. Well, the answer is social networking sites. It is quite simple – they have in all probability got a number of social media and equivalent accounts; all they have to do on the day of the riot is to take the images they have recorded and upload them to these sites and VOILA all the suspects have been identified and subsequently brought to account.
It has become easy because we have made it easy for them, we gave them the information in the first place and in most probability this was done unknowingly and was done just to share information with friends and family.
What is most disturbing, revealing the identities of friends and individuals through tagging is being done without their consent. This is evident, when for example I was uploading images of my model to Flickr and then was offered to name my model (tagging), I just had to centre the box on to her face and then enter her name – thereafter that face would have a name and it would become globally identified. Fair enough I own the copyright of the photograph and I can choose to publish it wherever I want by agreement with my model. If this was not the relationship and agreement with my model, then who gives me the right to provide someone’s name to a photograph without their consent?
Taking of Information – Hacking Data – Governments – Cyber War
This is all so worrying where corporations are gaining so much power over our lives as a result of us giving them information. How do we know if they are not selling our information or providing a back door access to security agencies etc. Sony Playstation fiasco is a very good examples of this. Data was hacked into and records stolen, they are saying that the data included credit card and login details of their customers. Now what if the databases of social networking websites were broken into and the facial recognition tags were taken. Then it would be DOOOOOOOM if it is not already happening for all of us. We will no longer have privacy.
Keeping records about their Citizens by governments is not a new thing. The Eastern European country before its fall, East Germany had a special spying unit which kept detailed records of all its citizens, now imagine that at a global scale, where a government is able to access the tagged records (photographs) which we have willingly uploaded and supplied to social networking providers, a government would have detailed information about what we look like and our movements through location software installed on our phones. It gets worse when you bring Oyster (UK rail transport prepayment card) into it. Well, lets not bring Oyster into the equation.
The attack on Sony and at the time of writing this blog was still ongoing, as I said earlier, this attack has been well resourced and coordinated and I think this is going to be the start of things to come for the future. Here in the UK, the government carried out an assessment on the likelihood of where future wars could take place and the type of armed services and defence it needs to develop to combat future threats. Cyber War was well within the top ten of this assessment list. A good example of this is the attack the Russians launched on Lithuania about four years ago – they collapsed Lithuania’s ability to function by jamming the internet into the country, also it is rumoured that they interfered with quite a few of their systems.
I believe something similar has happened with Sony and it wouldn’t surprise me if it is later found that the attacks on Sony ceased as a result of the Japanese government coming to some arrangement with the attacker, possibly another government?
The point that I am making here is that no matter how well we are protected by our own laws and the integrity of our governments – there is no guarantee that the information which we have provided is safe from “Others”!
Be Safe and Play Safe on the Net – Preserve Your Privacy
Tagging is going to affect many people over the next few years and as time progresses it will affect our children and our children’s children. I personally wouldn’t like to see a photo of me being tagged by others saying that I was spotted at “so and so” place. It is no one else’s business as to where I go and what I do. My life is mine alone and would ask you all to consider the repercussions in store for us as we, without thinking provide information about our lives to complete strangers and eventually to the state – Big Brother 1984 – In the end it will be our fault since we have supplied the information willingly and without coercion.