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Monday, 01 April 2013 00:38

Facebook to access surveillance cameras and more

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In a unique link with local councils, Facebook will use facial recognition to connect users' timelines with street images.

We have heard endless tales of drunken images (or their equivalent) being posted openly by all manner of soon-to-become job applicants who (quelle surprise) are rejected for those very same images. The applicants' pages were supposedly private, but when did that ever stop someone with money?

Of course with this in mind, one might assume the greatest investment in Facebook came from the major identity theft corporations who quickly recognised the support Facebook could offer to their businesses (as long as Eastern European currencies remain negotiable, of course). Pretty-well 99% of all users on Facebook offer up enough information for a surgical lift of a complete identity.

And the timeline - wasn't that just the best-ever invention for identity theft! Everything laid out ready to re-use.

Which brings us to the new announcement.

In a world-wide agreement to be signed today, April 1st, Facebook will gain unfettered access to the real-time video feeds from the thousands (perhaps millions) of surveillance cameras scattered throughout municipalities around the world.

"So what," you might say. "What can they do with so much video?"

A lot, actually. Here's the plan.

Imagine linking each and every video feed with Facebook's repository of facial recognition templates. This means that every Facebook user can be recognised in near-real time and best of all, images and location information piped directly to the timeline of every person identified in the video.

This is absolutely perfect for the lazy member. It will no longer be necessary to manually write updates based on the somewhat alcohol-blurred memories of the night before; and of course if users elect to be less lawful, an appropriate marker will be attached to the profile for later enforcement.

iTWire spoke with Facebook's CEO Marc Zuckerman who said that, "This is a win-win for everyone. Not only have we made it easier for everyone to update their profiles, but our main customers - advertisers and law enforcement - have all the tools they need to achieve their aims."

iTWire noted that many of Facebook's users are frequently out of sight of public video cameras. Zuckerman hinted that plans are afoot to deal with this problem. "We are currently in talks with a consortium of mobile telcos and online storage sites to activate phone cameras as required and also, where that is not possible, to source still and video images from most online repositories.  Furthermore, we are hoping to bring corporations and gated communities onboard to widen the coverage."

For those readers wishing to disable this new 'feature,' on the Facebook blue toolbar they should click on the star icon and check the box labelled, "I refuse to be taken in by April Fools jokes."


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David Heath

David Heath has had a long and varied career in the IT industry having worked as a Pre-sales Network Engineer (remember Novell NetWare?), General Manager of IT&T for the TV Shopping Network, as a Technical manager in the Biometrics industry, and as a Technical Trainer and Instructional Designer in the industrial control sector. In all aspects, security has been a driving focus. Throughout his career, David has sought to inform and educate people and has done that through his writings and in more formal educational environments.

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