Facebook Meme Could Compromise Your Privacy With Facial Profiling
Is the “10 Year Challenge” more than it appears?
You’ve probably heard about the “10 Year Challenge” in which a Facebook meme encourages people to post a current photo of themselves alongside one from ten years earlier. Did you participate and post your own “10 Year Challenge”?
While these popular challenges are fun and a way to get to know people better, they could be a potential treasure trove of information for marketers. Although there is no proof that this particular craze was created to collect data, experts allege that many times these challenges are engineered for a more diabolical purpose. Marco DeMello, CEO of PSafe and the security expert of dfndr lab weighs in on the controversial issue.
Is the Facebook Meme a Real Threat?
The biggest concern is that these memes can be used to train facial recognition software using AI (artificial intelligence) to recognize how people age. While Facebook does use facial recognition for purposes such as suggesting tags in photos, its representatives say that this meme was strictly user created and that they are not collecting data from it.
Aside from Facebook’s statement, the “10 Year Challenge” brings up questions on how AI is used to gather information about public photos and its potential impact.
“Currently there are artificial intelligence technologies that specialize in the recognition and interpretation of images in databases with many photo files. The algorithms observe specific characteristics of the database to learn and make conclusions, such as estimating how people can get after aging. By having access to images from people 10 years ago and currently, these algorithms would be able to make more accurate estimates,” explains DeMello.
DeMello say one of the risks is a database could be built by searching for the associated hashtag #tenyearchallenge. Media outlets have speculated that information could be sold to organizations such as life insurance companies and could someday track aging and affect the rates of those who appear to age faster.
Is Your Privacy at Risk?
The hot button issue is preserving privacy and public safety when it comes to facial profiling.
While apps and sites known to the public, such as Facebook and Google Photos are capable of identifying a person by automatically tagging them in a photo, similar technology is also applied by international authorities to identify suspected criminals in images captured by security cameras.
“Privacy is a growing concern for both the public and lawmakers, as evidenced by GDPR,” says DeMello. “The deployment of AI to gather data will increase in coming years, thus the best defence for consumers is using tools specifically designed to protect their right to privacy.”
The 10 Year Challenge is not the first trend that could potentially trick users into unknowingly sharing their information. Memes posted to social media frequently encourages users to answer seemingly innocent questions such as “what was the first concert you attended?” or the name of your first-grade teacher. This type of information is frequently used in security questions for password recovery or to access banking information.
5 Tips on How to Protect Your Privacy Online
What is the risk of posting your life online? According to DeMello, it’s a calculated one. “Public photos are available to everyone on the internet, not just to your group of contacts, as some tend to imagine. So the risks are similar to if a malicious person took a public photo and used it inappropriately or even for criminal activities.”
The best choice is to be diligent on what information is shared online, including the services and social media accounts you use.
1. Think twice about sharing too many personal details about yourself on social media like birthdate, place of employment, or location.
2. Be aware of apps and quizzes that take you to third-party websites. Often times, they can load spyware onto your device or collected data could be sold to third parties. If you do decide to answer questions on social media or share personal details, be sure to utilize privacy settings that limit who can see your posts.
3. Regularly change the passwords to all of your social media accounts, make sure that they are not easily guessed and that you don’t use the same password for accounts.
4. Don’t geotag photos when you share them on social media, if you can avoid it. That’s another method marketers use to track and monitor what you do.
5. Instead of sharing possibly compromising photos on social media, secure sensitive photos that aren’t meant to be shared online with dfndr vault. dfndr vault creates a secret gallery for those images that hide them with a decoy app icon. Your pictures are protected by hacker-proof encryption and if you do choose to share certain photos, you can use the “secure share” feature to make sure that they are the only one that gets access without fear of it being seen by an unintended audience.