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Facebook’s not safe for face biometrics, but privacy can be built into Meta?

Facebook’s not safe for face biometrics, but privacy can be built into Meta?

Days after Mark Zuckerberg announced a gorgeous new day had dawned with the creation of his holding company Meta, reports indicate it might be more of a Groundhog Day when it comes to his intentions for biometrics privacy.

Both Recode and Fortune are reporting on misgivings that some in the industry have about Zuckerberg’s happiness to delete 1 billion face templates created by Facebook engineers or his enthusiasm to build privacy into his vision for a metaverse.

Recode’s coverage points to a Meta blog post acknowledging that facial recognition is being pulled from Facebook but Meta will continue to work on it for new services and devices.

The post reads almost like, “See what you made me do?”

The author, AI VP Jerome Pesenti, at least four times notes that taking face biometrics out of Facebook means that blind people around the globe will be shut out of the ability to hear the names of people in their Facebook feeds.

This is worth noting. It is a variation on how law enforcement agencies and autocratic governments justify blanket-like facial recognition networks — they can help find abducted children.

Make governments give up their cameras, and who knows what will happen to the kids. Unfortunately, however, it is too late for sight-impaired people on Facebook, Pesenti reportedly inferred.

Perhaps they will be saved through new face biometrics product research by Meta.

Fortune’s angle on the Meta news is Zuckerberg’s passion for privacy in the promised metaverse (check out marketing from Dreamium, a metaverse developer introducing selfie biometrics-based NFT avatars).

The story looks at the irony in Zuckerberg’s zeal. Does the metaverse require more and better privacy safeguards than Facebook? Could they not be installed for Facebook subscribers?

Fortune offers a greatest hits list of privacy mishaps, oversights, government fines and lawsuits that hang around Facebook’s neck.

Out front is the reality that for all of Zuckerberg’s arm-sweeping toward a horizon of virtual and augmented reality apps, he really is only focused on new data to sell. VR games will collect what Facebook can no longer gather: facial templates. More, algorithms will get as close as possible to identifying emotions. Meta will record and analyze the metaverse-lettes that subscribers create.

It is going to be a long list of new biometric data to sell. The good news is that, apparently, the privacy and safety that eluded Facebook will be a natural fit, in Zuckerberg’s hands, for the metaverse.

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