10 Year Photo Challenge… Harmless Fun or Data Collection

5.2 Million engagements on Facebook in just a few days according to CBS News.

On Instagram currently ie tonight at 12.15am,
there are 2.3 Million posts alone
using the hashtag ‘10yearchallenge’ not forgetting the similar hashtag
‘10yearschallenge’ (with an ‘s’) has racked up 1.7 Million posts.

So a total of 4 Million posts to date on Insta.

On Twitter in
the past hour
there have been 6010 tweets on the hashtag.

Mariah Carey has even commented!.

The 10 Year Challenge, regardless of its origin, has ‘presented Facebook with a perfect storm for machine learning’ with an ideal opportunity to learn from small changes in user’s faces Amy Webb, Professor at NYU Stern School of Business, told CBS News

Facebook have spoken. In a statement on Fox News they say  ‘This is a user-generated meme that went viral on its own. Facebook did not start this trend and the meme uses photos that already exist on Facebook. Facebook gains nothing from this meme (besides reminding us of the questionable fashion trends of 2009)’.

They add ‘As a reminder, Facebook users can choose to turn facebook recognition on or off at any time’.

Facebook have also replied in a Tweet

Regardless of who started it, what are the chances this data won’t be
used by some organisation for analysis? Without your permission.

probably come across it on Social Media – mostly on Facebook but also on
Instagram and Twitter.  Regular guys and
girls – and celebrities sharing photos of themselves today, alongside an image
taken 10 years ago. I’ve even come across a Newspaper
in the UK actually explaining to people how to get involved with the challenge

Why should people
think before joining in the 10 Year Photo Challenge?

They should
think before posting and sharing images. Full stop.  As I always tell students when speaking about
social engineering in schools and colleges – Number One Rule is:

‘Think before you post and share images on social media platforms’.

When I
first came across the Challenge it was met with my usual scepticism. As with
all data we upload to social media platforms it can be used for all sorts of
purposes.  The images 10 years apart be
used to help further facial recognition within the ageing process. Plausible. I
think so…

Then I came
across a tweet from Wired’s Kate O Neill in which my above thoughts and reservations were
further validated:

Now you are
probably thinking, right about now – Wayne surely a lot of those images are
already on Facebook?

In some cases I
would suspect so, but there were no smartphones 10 years ago. 10 years ago lot
of images would of been uploaded via crappy old digital cameras, SD card or
scanned on via some sort of printer scanner. The earlier images uploaded would
not have been as data rich as those we upload today via our Smartphones.
Therefore todays images provide loads more data such as date captured,
location, time etc – all of which could be analysed for various purposes including
new AI technology.

For facial
recognition to work and be successful it would probably need to be able to
recognise someone as they get older – and obviously pick up if something isn’t
right – for example someone lifting an image of a user in 2007 and trying to
authenticate it in 2019.

What we should think about

Of course better
security and authentic processes are ever more important as technology develops.
 And with this Challenge it’s important
to remember my earlier message – that of thinking critically before you post or
share images online.  Question who could
have access to them and how could they be used. 

Thanks to this meme challenge doing the rounds at the moment, it’s created a very large data set of curated photos of people which is still growing daily (in the past 15 minutes on my own Facebook I’ve seen 6 friends join the challenge). 

So just take a
minute.  Think about how you’d like your
personal information  (aka itsjustdata to
some organisations) to be used, how it could be used when things go wrong and
how all of this data can be analysed, without your permission, to manipulate
you personally or on a great scale.

The American Civil Liberties Union asked Amazon to quit selling on facial recognition data for a reason according to Kate O’Neill in her book TechHumanist. 

Stay alert and aware about your civil liberties when using social media and how we all have a part to play in shaping the internet for the better.  The right to privacy for our information should be respected. By organisations and by ourselves. 

>> Read the full article at waynedenner.com

Wayne Denner is a speaker, author and expert on Online Reputation and Wellbeing. Wayne helps young people protect and improve their digital presence. Visit waynedenner.com for more information.

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