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Facebook changes privacy settings for millions of users with facial recognition, Sophos reports

by david.nunes

Singapore. June 8, 2011 – IT security firm Sophos is encouraging Facebook users to review their privacy settings, after reports that the site has enabled facial recognition for photo tags for many users.

Facebook revealed last year it was introducing facial recognition technology to encourage users to tag each other in photographs, but the functionality was initially only available in North America and was disabled elsewhere.

In the last few days, Facebook users around the world have reported that the option has been enabled without any notice by the website.

To the annoyance of many Facebook users, the site provides no way for users to pre-approve photos they are tagged in.  Instead users must untag themselves manually after they havebeen tagged.

“Many people feel distinctly uncomfortableabout a site like Facebook learning what they look like, and using that information without their permission,” said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. “Most Facebook users still don’t know how to set their privacy options safely, finding the whole system confusing.  It’s even harder though to keep control when Facebookchanges the settings without your knowledge. Facebook users should have to ‘opt-in’ to the facial recognition feature, rather than the onus being on them to ‘opt-out’.”

Facebook users can control the new feature by disabling “Suggest photos of me to friends” in their privacy settings.  More details of how to do this, along with images and advice on how to configure Facebook privacy settings can be found on the Sophos Naked Security site here:



Follow Graham Cluley on Twitter: http://twitter.com/gcluley


About Sophos

More than 100 million users in 150 countries rely on Sophos as the best protection against complex threats anddata loss. Sophos is committed to providing security and data protection solutions that are simple to manage, deploy and use and that deliver the industry’s lowest total cost of ownership. Sophos offers award-winning encryption, endpoint security, web, email, and network access control solutions backed by SophosLabs-a global network of threat intelligence centres. With more than two decades of experience, Sophos is regarded as a leader in security and data protection by top analyst firms and has received many industry awards.


Sophos is headquartered in Oxford, UK and Boston, US. More information is available at www.sophos.com












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