Facebook can track you using dust on your camera lens

Facebook has designed a way to track you and your friends using the dust and scratches on your camera lens.

The social networking giant outlines how it would connect users by matching similarities in their uploaded photos in a newly found patent.

If two people have used the same digital camera, Facebook could link them by detecting similar dust or scratch marks in their uploaded photos.

The company says it has ‘never implemented’ the technology described in the patent, but has not ruled out using it in future.

It follows new that Facebook plans to put a microphone and camera in every home via a £370 ($500) video chat device set for released this year.

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Facebook has designed a way to track you and your friends using the dust and scratches on your camera lens. The social networking giant outlines how it would connect two people by matching similarities in their uploaded photos in a newly found patent (stock image)

Facebook has designed a way to track you and your friends using the dust and scratches on your camera lens. The social networking giant outlines how it would connect two people by matching similarities in their uploaded photos in a newly found patent (stock image)

Facebook has designed a way to track you and your friends using the dust and scratches on your camera lens. The social networking giant outlines how it would connect two people by matching similarities in their uploaded photos in a newly found patent (stock image)

FACEBOOK FRIEND SUGGESTIONS

In its online guidelines, Facebook states that People You May Know suggestions come from mutual friends, as well as people in the same Facebook groups as you.

Other factors that can influence suggestions include your networks, for example your school, university or work, and contacts you’ve uploaded. 

Facebook says more than 100 ‘signals’ go into making the recommendations, and that no one signal alone can trigger a friend suggestion. 

Some claim Facebook recommends potential friends based on your phone’s location, shared contacts, and facial recognition from photographs.

Rumours suggest the social network uses IP addresses people have signed in on, or Wi-Fi networks they have both used, to link profiles.

Gizmodo has uncovered a Facebook patent that shows it could one day use data stored on your photos to suggest people you might know on the platform.

The technology would match photos uploaded to different accounts and apply it to Facebook’s People You May Know (PYMK) feature.

PYMK suggests potential mutual connections based on your friends list, Facebook groups, and a host of other information linked to your account.

If Facebook integrates the newly-found patent, PYMK would assume two people know each other if images they have uploaded share similar file names.

The software would detect photos that look as though they were part of the same image series, such as a pair titled ‘IMG_5803921.jpg’ and ‘IMG_5803932’.

It would assume these images have been taken on the same camera, suggesting the two people who uploaded them have met.

The software could also detect photos captured on the same camera by matching scuffs, dust or other lens marks.

If implemented, people you have sent photos to, and who have then uploaded them to Facebook, would begin appearing in your PYMK section.

In its patent, which was filed in 2015 but uncovered by Gizmodo yesterday, Facebook writes: ‘Images uploaded by users of a social networking system are analysed to determine signatures of cameras used to capture the images.

If a pair of users have used the same digital camera, Facebook could link them by detecting similar dust or scratch marks in their uploaded photos, the patent (pictured) shows. Facebook said it has ‘never implemented’ the technology it describes in the document

Earlier this week it was revealed that Facebook plans to put a microphone and camera in every home via a video chat device called 'Portal', which the firm will unveil in May at its F8 developer conference. Pictured is Mark Zuckerberg at last year's F8 conference

Earlier this week it was revealed that Facebook plans to put a microphone and camera in every home via a video chat device called 'Portal', which the firm will unveil in May at its F8 developer conference. Pictured is Mark Zuckerberg at last year's F8 conference

Earlier this week it was revealed that Facebook plans to put a microphone and camera in every home via a video chat device called ‘Portal’, which the firm will unveil in May at its F8 developer conference. Pictured is Mark Zuckerberg at last year’s F8 conference

FACEBOOK PORTAL 

Facebook plans to announce its first foray into the world of consumer electronics this year with a home device called ‘Portal’.

The gadget will feature a wide-angle camera, microphone, and speakers boosted by artificial intelligence, and will be geared for communal use in the living room. 

A version in testing would enable the camera to automatically scan for faces in the room and link them to their Facebook accounts.

Like Amazon’s screen-equipped Echo Show, the device will be controlled by voice-command and designed for indoor use.

Facebook intends to let Portal access third-party streaming services like Spotify and Netflix, the report claims.

Privacy concerns have been raised as the device could use Facebook’s facial recognition to monitor people in their homes.

‘A camera signature comprises features extracted from images that characterise the camera used for capturing the image, for example, faulty pixel positions in the camera and metadata available in files storing the images. 

‘Associations between users and cameras are inferred based on actions relating users with the cameras, for example, users uploading images, users being tagged in images captured with a camera, and the like.

‘These associations are used beneficially for the social networking system, for example, for recommending potential connections to a user, recommending events and groups to users, identifying multiple user accounts created by the same user, detecting fraudulent accounts, and determining affinity between users.’

When asked about the patent, a Facebook spokesperson said: ‘We’re not analysing images taken by the same camera to make recommendations in People You May Know.

‘We’ve often sought patents for technology we never implement, and patents should not be taken as an indication of future plans.’

Facebook plans to release a $499 (£370) video chat device for your living room later this year. The firm's 'Portal' gadget features a laptop-sized touchscreen and smart camera technology boosted by artificial intelligence, similar to Amazon's Echo Show (pictured)

Facebook plans to release a $499 (£370) video chat device for your living room later this year. The firm's 'Portal' gadget features a laptop-sized touchscreen and smart camera technology boosted by artificial intelligence, similar to Amazon's Echo Show (pictured)

Facebook plans to release a $499 (£370) video chat device for your living room later this year. The firm’s ‘Portal’ gadget features a laptop-sized touchscreen and smart camera technology boosted by artificial intelligence, similar to Amazon’s Echo Show (pictured)

The news comes after it was revealed this week that Facebook is working on its first foray into the world of consumer electronics with a home device called ‘Portal’.

According to sources close to the firm, the company will unveil a $499 (£370) video chat system to rival Amazon’s Echo Show in May.

Named ‘Portal’, it will feature a laptop-sized touchscreen and smart camera technology boosted by artificial intelligence.

Set for release in the second half of this year, Facebook plans to market Portal as a way for friends and family to video chat from a communal hub.

However, privacy concerns have been raised as the device will have a camera and microphone – and could use Facebook’s facial recognition to identify people.

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