Social networking FacePrint

Based on some recent experience, about which I will have to discuss later, I was thinking about identity and social networking. Put simply, it’s extremely easy to lift information from social networks. The theft of information can take many forms:

  • Stealing piecemeal - static information (name, age, etc.)
  • semi-dynamic information (interests, groups, etc.)
  • dynamic information (RSVPs, etc.)
  • Stealing pictures

Quite honestly, a lot of social networking sites have measures to prevent data theft, at least, deter it a fair amount. Additionally, there are many services to protect the theft of all three tiers of piecemeal information.

There is not, to the best of my knowledge, however, a robust mechanism for image security. For example, if someone has access to an image on Facebook, they can save it and use it freely. This person can steal an identity and use social conditioning, purely, based on the pictures they steal.

The idea

What we really need is a mechanism which is basically built into the social platforms. The software does face and geometry detection, color comparisons and check-sums on various parts of the picture. This could be combined with Facebook’s tagging feature to basically “lock” your face in a picture. Abusers could simply be banned from using the system.

In turn, if someone steals an image, they cannot use that person’s face; alternatively, the original “owner” of the picture could get a notification when a match is detected and someone else is using the picture (party photos, etc.). If a thief tries to use the picture on a non-secure site, a portal could offer a front-end into the service (and shared database) so they could see if a picture being sent to them is authentic.

Obviously, there would have to be a decent way to resolve disputes, mistakes and so on. Just an idea, though.