At the Philadelphia Inquirer, there’s an opinion column about privacy and applications (“apps”) on computers or mobile devices.
CNN has reported that Google is at work on a facial-recognition application that would allow you to snap a portrait of somebody with your cell phone and receive that person’s name and contact information. The function would be added to Goggles, an application that allows users to snap a picture of an object or building and have it identified.
Google wants you to know that none of this is imminent. Although the technology has existed for years and there is a demand for it, Google says it has no plans to make the app available until or unless it can find a way to address the obvious privacy concerns. At a minimum, the app would require an opt-in clause, meaning a person would have to agree to allow access to his or her information. […]
Duly noted. And consider me not mollified in the least.
In the first place, no one allowed me to opt out before that picture of my home appeared on Google Maps.
In the second place, this is the same Google that last year agreed to an $8.5 million settlement and last month agreed to 20 years of government privacy audits after publishing on its social-networking site the names of people with whom its users regularly e-mailed.
In the third place, given the lack of judgment for which young people are notorious and the career- and life-damaging images and information they routinely post online, it is hard to be sanguine over Google’s promise to require users of the new app to opt in.