Facebook has started rolling out face-recognition technology into its services. As you are notified that you may be in a picture rather than automatically tagged, it seems they’ve launched it in a reasonable way. As seems to happen for any change to Facebook, people are up in arms about it1. Tim O’Reilly makes a great point:
When it comes to privacy, putting our head in the sand about what’s already possible with data mining and machine learning (and what will become even more possible with every passing year) is short-sighted. Unless we’re prepared to ban face recognition technology outright, having it available in consumer-facing services is a good way to get society to face up to the way we live now. Then the real work begins, to ask what new social norms we need to establish for the world as it is, rather than as it used to be.
This holds true not just for many technologies, but virtually every other big societal issue.
1 No, you don’t have a “right” to be listened to when you complain about a free service.