Facebook is currently finalising the first version of a new tool entitled ‘Photo Magic’ which has the sole purpose of scanning every photo on your device so that it can ‘tell you which ones to share’. Intended for integration with the messenger app, it is hoped that the new tool will enable users to find old photos and share them with all the people who are in them by using facial recognition technology.
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In order to do this, the app will of course require the permission of the user; but it’s highly likely you’ve already given them permission when accepting a popup the first time that you shared a photo. If you’re an android user, the problem is even worse. Since their restrictions are lesser than Apple’s, which limits the frequency and extent to which an app can view images on your iOS device, the app can scan photo’s as soon as they are taken and will show a push notification encouraging you to send the photo to anyone who it recognises in the picture. This essentially means that all photos taken are sent to Facebook’s server, whether you’ve opened them in the app or not.
To avoid this happening you have to either physically opt out of the app or else just turn the notifications off. The tool will likely be added by an update rather than a separate download so be sure to check the contents of each update before installing if you don’t want this new tool.
Those in the UK and EU needn’t worry yet, since the EU has banned people from operating facial recognition software that doesn’t require people to explicitly opt in. Elsewhere, however, it’s a different story: with beta testing already underway in Australia and the company planning to roll out the tool in the US soon. What is it with everyone trying to spy on us right now?