Latest developments with online privacy and Facebook

Two recent developments have occurred pertaining to Facebook that may cause concern before the next login.

Two recent developments have occurred pertaining to the world’s most popular social media site that may cause concern before the next login.

Facebook’s facial recognition software scrutinized
The U.S. Senate questioned Facebook‘s use of facial recognition software in a July 18 hearing. Forbes noted a heated exchange between Senator Al Franken and Rob Sherman, Facebook’s manager of privacy and public policy.

The issue stems from the site’s “faceprints” tag suggestions feature, which uses facial recognition technology to determine the identity of people pictured in a photo posted online. Franken noted that Google +, unlike Facebook, has the default for facial recognition as “turned off.” The senator also scolded Facebook for making users go to the sixth page of its privacy settings in order to disable facial recognition, according to Forbes.

Sherman defended the company’s privacy record on the matter, saying he thought it was easy for users to disable the service, according to Forbes. “If people don’t trust us, they won’t use our service,” he said.

According to Forbes, Franken had choice words for Sherman. After one answer in which Sherman expressed some doubt as to what page within Facebook’s privacy settings contained information about disabling faceprints, Franken responded by asking “You’re the guy in charge of all this?”

These privacy concerns arose after Facebook acquired facial recognition software when it bought startup Face.com in June for at least $8 million.

Notification emails not what they seem
Think twice before opening the next Facebook notification email. A recent email malware campaign tricks users by expertly masquerading as a photo notification, according to a security expert.

The email looks almost exactly like an email directly from Facebook. When a user clicks on the link included, within four seconds a page opens that looks just like a regular Facebook page. However, within those four seconds malware infects the computer.

The main way to tell a real Facebook email from this fake one, outside of whitelisting? The email address used to send the spam message includes an extra o, so the email comes from notification@faceboook.com. Mashable recommends closely checking all incoming emails, and hovering the mouse over all links to see the exact destination page.

As someone concerned about online privacy, what bothers you more: facial recognition technology or spam emails cleverly disguised as official Facebook alerts? What tips and tricks do you use to make sure you are not targeted by seemingly innocent yet malware-ridden messages?

Heman Mehta

Heman, aka: He-Man, is the Master of Deep Freeze. He has been with Faronics for more than 6 years and is (of course) the biggest evangelist of Deep Freeze. When not living the "PM Lifestyle", you'll find him travelling the world—his last count was at about 30 countries visited.