Online conspiracy theorists claim Snapchat's image filter feature called "Lenses" is covertly amassing a database of users' faces to share with law enforcement agencies. CLAIM Snapchat is using its "Lenses" photo and video filtering technology to create a facial recognition database for use by law enforcement agencies. B to his roughly two million followers: Contrary to the claims of this frivolous lawsuit, we are very careful not to collect, store, or obtain any biometric information or identifiers about our community.
Have you ever wondered how Lenses make your eyes well up with tears or rainbows come out your mouth? Some of the magic behind Lenses is object recognition. Object recognition is an algorithm designed to understand the general nature of things that appear in an image.
It lets us know that a nose is a nose or an eye is an eye. It has to recognize a face as a face, and identify the parts of a face as the nose, eyes, ears, chin, etc. On our end, that means that we automatically delete the content of your Snaps the photo and video messages that you send your friends from our servers after we detect that a Snap has been opened by all recipients or has expired. And although the policy further acknowledges that Snap Inc. Some rumors die hard, however.
An updated variant that cropped up in early brought two new claims to the mix: There is a catch. Implementation of the process would, of course, require amassing a facial recognition database. Despite finding no legitimate basis for the claim that Snapchat is currently engaged in collecting, storing, or sharing facial recognition data on its users, we do not wish to downplay the increasing prevalence of facial recognition technology in both commercial and government applications, nor the privacy issues this raises.
The newly released report raises serious concerns about how companies are collecting, using, and storing our most sensitive personal information.
But what we really need are federal standards that address facial recognition privacy by enhancing our consumer privacy framework. The tech industry has yet to address these concerns to the satisfaction of consumer privacy watchdogs , however, nor has Congress made progress toward establishing the federal standards Franken called for.
In testimony before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing chaired by Sen. Franken in , Electronic Frontier Foundation attorney Jennifer Lynch urged Congress to act sooner rather than later to protect the biometric privacy of all Americans: Face recognition and its accompanying privacy concerns are not going away. Given this, it is imperative that government act now to limit unnecessary biometrics collection; instill proper protections on data collection, transfer, and search; ensure accountability; mandate independent oversight; require appropriate legal process before government collection; and define clear rules for data sharing at all levels.
This is important to preserve the democratic and constitutional values that are bedrock to American society. If you'd like to learn more about how you can support us, click here.