It’s fairly common knowledge that your smartphone is already a great tool to keep track of you or your online activities, and the topic of privacy in the online environment is one of hot debates. It seems like we’ll be adding yet another way that companies will be able to keep track of you and your data, and this time, it’s going to be through your phone’s or tablet’s camera. Facebook has just filed a patent request for a technology called “image fingerprinting”, with the patent number US20150124107.
The patent is described as “Associating cameras with users and objects in a social networking system“, and at a first glance, sounds harmless and innocent enough. In short, Facebook’s new technology will be able to identify the camera used to take a picture. The purpose of this tech sounds innocent, in the sense that Facebook would be using it to suggest new friends or connections based on your photos, even if these are uploaded by different accounts. Of course, it would also be used to monitor accounts, since having multiple Facebook accounts is a no-no, and the technology would be used to enforce and monitor this aspect of the social media platform.
The new feature will be able to pick up metadata directly from the sensors and traits of a camera, including but not being limited to things such as dead pixels or lens scratches. While all this sounds scary to some degree, there’s also a plus side to things, and I’m not talking about Facebook’s ability to “improve” friend suggestions. I’m referring to a potentially good tool to combat online harassment such as posting nude photos out of revenge online, a form of harassment that has seen tremendous increase over the last few years and is extremely hard to combat. Victims of such forms of privacy breaches are currently limited in their ways to have unwanted content about themselves removed from online webpages. Facebook’s new technology could help combat this by providing easier copyright claims to photos published in an online environment.
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