Online home of Jeremy Scheff

Privacy bullshit

I recently uploaded my wedding photos to Facebook. Why Facebook? Cause there are a lot of pictures with a lot of different people, and I remembered that Facebook has some nifty auto tagging feature that would save a lot of time.

And after uploading the photos, what I found was that... I really haven't uploaded photos in a long time. Apparently they made the auto tagging opt-in in 2019 (of course most users will never bother to opt in) and removed it completely in 2021. Why? The most concrete answer in that blog post is:

We need to weigh the positive use cases for facial recognition against growing societal concerns, especially as regulators have yet to provide clear rules.

Do I care enough to do the research and figure out what exactly he's referencing? No. But whatever it is, it's bullshit. There is no "societal concern" for Facebook scanning photos I upload and, if it identifies a friend in a photo, asking them if they want to be tagged. No problem with that at all.

What is there a problem with? Oh, I don't know, maybe all the nonsense the CIA and NSA. Stuff that can actually be used against you by the government, which believe it or not is actually a more powerful entity than Facebook.

But fortunately for us, that same government that is concerned about Facebook helping you efficiently tag your photos.

Of course, "government" shouldn't be used as some boogeyman term, as if it's some conspiracy imposed on us. It's what we vote for. I get it. If government is stupid, it's because we are stupid.

But on all this privacy stuff, man it is ridiculous. The government is the worst abuser, both in terms of the information they collect and the harm they can cause with that information. And rather than doing anything at all about that (other than prosecute whistleblowers), various governments pass ridiculous laws giving us pointless cookie consent banners that accomplish nothing; GDPR and its imitators which basically just create busywork and entrench large corporations in power; and now they want me to manually tag hundreds of wedding photos because... why exactly?

It feels like the world is conspiring to make me a libertarian. But I really don't want to be a libertarian. I hope things don't get that bad!