Facebook is Making Undercover Policing Impossible

If you find Facebook's facial recognition and photo tagging kind of creepy, the police may find it downright dangerous.

Mike Keelty, a former Australian Federal Police commissioner, said that Facebook may make undercover policing "impossible" in the future:

“The thinking we had with this result means that the 16-year-olds of today who might become officers in the future have already been exposed.

"It’s too late [for them to take it down] because once it’s uploaded, it’s there forever.”

Of the people surveyed, 85 per cent had their photos uploaded on to the internet by another person.

Keelty said that until recently this has been a real problem because Facebook refused to remove photographs, but because of competition from Google+ it had started to remove photos at people’s request.

Alarmingly, 42 percent of respondents said it would be possible to identify their relationship with other people, including family and friends.

"If you have someone in the service who is trying to remain anonymous for whatever reason, it is still possible through other relationships to find them," Keelty said.

Link - via  Schneier on Security

The image above is from the undisputed best movie of the century, Undercover Brother.


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Seems to me that the use of undercover police is mostly confined to situations where the police are trying to enforce laws against prostitution and drug use - laws which shouldn't exist in the first place. So if this makes it harder, that's fine with me. Stop spending my tax dollars busting people for trying to enjoy drugs and sex, and focus on REAL crimes like murder and robbery.
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It's about time the cops had to live by the same rules they try and get everyone else to follow. "If you don't have anything to hide then whats the problem?" has long been the answer to questions about privacy and cameras from cops. Well, right back at you.
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I've been saying this for a looooooong time.... once you're on a social networking site, your privacy is gone. Do not fool yourself into thinking that any "privacy settings" you imagine you are controlling make any difference at all.
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