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Save Your Face: Why You Need to Secure Your Public Photos

August 18, 2022

Facial recognition is one of the most powerful surveillance tools ever made. Facial recognition technology (FRT) can map, analyze and confirm your identity from a single photo or video clip. It is so powerful that the Chinese government uses it to track and control its citizens. If you’ve ever posted your picture online such as on your Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn account, chances are your face is stored in an array of facial recognition databases. In fact, nearly half of all Americans, or 117 million, have their facial data stored in one of these databases, most without their knowledge. Your face and your photos put your data in the sights of cybercriminals.

Because access to your faceprint via an image on the Web can point cybercriminals to your name and social networking profiles. From there, it’s easy to dig up more sensitive information, like your age, address, place of employment or the names of your friends and family members. With this information at hand, identity thieves can steal your identity and hack into your accounts with ease.

What are the dangers of facial recognition technology?

Facial recognition is based on algorithms that recognize human faces and the hundreds of ways in which each one is unique. In order to do this, these algorithms must be fed an array of faces—faces from images on the internet. Companies are prowling the web as we speak, scouring through millions of photos in an effort to construct enormous databases that will improve their facial recognition technology. Without you even knowing, your and other people’s photos are taken from your control categorized by age, gender, skin tone and dozens of other metrics. Creepy, right?

Whether your photo lands in a government or commercial database, no database is immune to hacking. For example, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) acknowledged that photos used for a facial recognition pilot program were hacked and leaked on the dark web in 2020. The compromised data encompassed a trove of traveler’s faces, license plates and care information, all of which made its way to the dark web. Eventually, the DHS Office of Inspector General would admit that 184,000 images were stolen and at least 19 were posted to the dark web.

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Secure your photos to protect your identity from theft

The fact of the matter is that your public photos are becoming easier to capture from a remote distance and cheaper to collect and store. Unlike many other forms of data, faces cannot be encrypted. The current volume of public data housed in various databases – driver’s licenses, corporate security badge photos, school identification photos, and social media posts to name a few – heightens the potential for harm. Think about it—unauthorized parties can easily “plug and play” numerous data points to reveal a person’s life. And to make matters worse, photo data breaches involving FRTs increase the potential for identity theft because, unlike passwords and credit card information, you can’t change your face.

When you share photos with others, do you send them via unencrypted text? In 2022, that is just like letting other people read your mail.  That said, how do you keep track of and secure your photos? Can you trust the big tech companies to have your best interests, and personal privacy, at heart?

That’s why you need a solution you that give you the control, literally, to save your face. We are here to help. Regain ownership and ensure your shared photos are protected by EB Control, the solution that lets you decide who can access your data, as well as when, where and how it is accessed. Click here to learn how EB Control can help you save face.