Facebook’s facial recognition announcement does not apply to the metaverse

Facebook says it will stop using facial recognition to tag photos. On Monday Blog postMeta, the new parent of the social networking site, announced that the platform will remove the face templates of over a billion people and turn off its facial recognition software, which uses an algorithm to identify people in photos they upload to Facebook. The decision represents an important step in the movement against facial recognition, which experts and activists have warned is linked to bias and privacy concerns.

But Meta’s statement contains some serious caveats. Meta spokesman Jason Grosse told Recode that while Meta claims facial recognition is not a feature on Instagram and its Portal devices, the company’s new commitment does not extend to its Metaverse products. In fact, Meta is already exploring ways to incorporate biometrics into its growing metaverse business, which aims to create a virtual internet simulation in which people can interact as avatars. Meta also saves DeepFace, complex algorithm this provides its face recognition function with photo tagging.

“We believe this technology has the potential to create positive future use cases that preserve privacy, control and transparency, and we will continue to explore this approach as we consider how our future computing platforms and devices can best meet the needs of people. … – said Grosse Recode. “For any potential future applications of such technologies, we will continue to publish information on intended uses, how people can control these systems and their personal data, and how we adhere to our responsible innovation framework.”

This facial recognition for tagging photos leaves Facebook, also known as “big blue annex, ”, Of course, is of great importance. Facebook originally launched this tool in 2010 to make its photo tagging feature more popular. The idea was to let the algorithm automatically suggest tagging a specific person in a photo, which would make it easier than manually tagging them, and perhaps encourage more people to tag their friends. The software is informed about the photos people post about themselves, which Facebook uses to create unique face templates linked to their profiles. Developed from images uploaded by Facebook users, DeepFace artificial intelligence technology helps match people’s face patterns to faces in different photos.

Privacy experts expressed concern immediately after starting the function. Since then, major studies by researchers such as Joy Buolamwini, Timnit Gebru and Deb Raji have also shown that face recognition can have racial and gender bias, and especially less accurate for women with darker skin. In response to growing opposition to this technology, Facebook has included facial recognition in 2019. The social network also agreed to pay $ 650 million in compensation last year after a lawsuit alleged the tagging tool violated the Illinois Biometric Privacy Act.

Perhaps defending this particular use of facial recognition technology has become too expensive for Facebook, and that the social network has already got what it needs from this tool. Meta has not ruled out the use of DeepFace in the future, companies including Google have already implemented facial recognition in CCTV cameras. Future virtual reality equipment may also collect a lot of biometric data.

“Every time a person interacts with a virtual reality environment, such as the Facebook metaverse, their biometric data is collected,” John Davisson, a lawyer at the Center for Electronic Privacy Information, told Recode. “Depending on how the system is built, this data can include eye movements, body tracking, face scans, voice prints, blood pressure, heart rate, user’s environment, and more. This is a mind-boggling amount of confidential information in the hands of a company that constantly demonstrates that our personal information cannot be trusted. “

Several of Meta’s ongoing projects indicate that the company has no plans to stop collecting data on human bodies. Meta evolves hyperrealistic avatars that humans will act by traveling the metaverse, which requires tracking someone’s facial movements in real time so that they can be recreated using your avatar. A new virtual reality headset which Meta plans to release next year will include sensors that track people’s eye and facial movements. The company also appreciated the inclusion of facial recognition. into the new Ray-Ban smart glassesthat allow the wearer to record their surroundings as they walk, and Reality Labs, Meta’s center for the study of virtual and augmented reality, hosts ongoing research in biometrics, according to posts on the job site Facebook.

In addition to the Illinois Biometric Privacy Act, there are an increasing number of local and federal proposals that could restrict the use of facial recognition by private companies. However, it is unclear when regulators will come to a consensus on how to regulate this technology, and Meta will not point to any specific legislation it supports. In the meantime, the company welcomes the celebration of its new announcement. At the end of the day, this is a convenient opportunity to highlight something other than the recent leak of thousands of internal documents showing that Facebook is still unable to keep its platform secure.

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